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I'm so glad you're all here!

Hi! My name is Nicky. I found this community this morning and man am I glad that I did. It's nice to know that I am not the only "weird person" who hates Christmas. I've got a question for you.

How do those of you who do not want to participate in Christmas make loved ones who do want to participate understand that you do not want gifts? It infuriates me when I tell someone that I don't like Christmas and I don't want anything to do with it and their response is "WELL I'M *STILL* GOING TO GET YOU SOMETHING!" I understand that they aren't doing this with vicious intent or anything like that and I don't want to hurt anyones feelings but I am tired of pretending. I'm tired of going through the motions every year to make everyone else happy while I'm absolutely miserable and uncomfortable.

I like seeing my family but I'm getting to the point where I am contemplating skipping the whole family thing all together this year because no one will listen to me or take me seriously.

Hello? Two more holidays first, please.

It's not even past the first week of October and Christmas pre-sales have come and gone where I live.  And they'll be back.  Right after the Halloween candy is all bought, and the Turkey stuff has blown over, too. 

(I found this place through metaquotes.  :) )

here we sit....

waiting.

..for his son whom we've seen maybe twice in the last three years. there's a gift for him under the tree.

..for his daughter and grandchildren who were due here several hours ago. there are [too many] gifts for them under the tree, but of the practical kind.

..to drive for over an hour in 32C heat to have lunch with my recently-widowed mother-in-law. we're due there in less than 30 minutes. he's so upset he can't even phone there to explain why we'll be late.

but then, what's new? we do this every year.
i must be the eternal optimist, hoping that one year it will be different.

it worked!

oh yes!

 Santa.JPG

EDIT: sorry........... we're in the middle of electrical storm alerts and everytjing id going haywire,
i'll try to repost later

On Christmas

As far as I know, I'm the only person in my office who isn't a theist. That doesn't surprise me, given statistics, the size of the firm, and my geographic location. What surprises me is that I'm the only one who doesn't put up a Christmas tree. There's a tree up near the front doors of our office building. My very outspokenly Christian boss has a tree up at home, and raises her three kids to believe in Santa Claus. When her oldest (now nine) began to question the existence of Santa Claus, she proved the existence of Santa Claus by asking him if he believed in Jesus, and his answering in the affirmative was case closed as far as Santa Claus was concerned. My parents, who have in the past complained of the "War on Christmas" put up a tree every year. At my parents' church, every Christmas Eve the pastor makes a sermon of how everyone needs to keep Christmas holy, without realizing the irony that standing behind him there is an eight (or is it ten?) foot tall tree decorated with lights and tinsel.

Something is wrong with this picture.

Certainly one must question why otherwise devout Christians choose not only to celebrate, but bring the secular version of their religious holiday to the forefront. It repeats itself outside of Christmas, too -- I certainly don't remember being taught in Sunday School that when Jesus rose from the dead, he turned water into a chocolate bunny. This year, in a way of making his point, Jerry Falwell compiled a list of retailers who have been naughty and nice. This list simply separates those retailers who have stated policies of saying "Merry Christmas" from those who say "Happy Holidays." Never mind that alluding to the secular Santa Claus might damage his point.

There are admittedly some similarities between the characters of Santa Claus and Jesus. Both of them can see you, both of them know when you've been naughty or nice, both of them exist in our consciousness only if we believe in them. But why would Christian parents want to confuse children about Christmas (being both a celebration of Santa and Jesus)? And why would they wish to subject their child to when the inevitable happens -- that they realize that Santa Claus doesn't exist? Worse yet, the 8th Commandment forbids lying -- for a Christian, Santa Claus shouldn't even be a logical consideration in the upbringing of their children.

I can be made an easy target here. "Oh, an atheist without a Christmas Tree, surprise, surprise, he is waging a war on Christmas." But honestly, shouldn't this be the exact opposite? Shouldn't my parents -- and especially their church -- refuse to put up a secular symbol of their religious holiday while I find the biggest tree that I can haul into my apartment? Why was I, as the child of religious parents, taught about Santa Claus while my future children won't be? I think it's telling that the secularist prefers to keep Christmas as a religious holiday whilst the religious seem to do everything to make the holiday as secular as possible. At least if I put up a tree and taught my children about Santa Claus, there would be some reason for them to believe that I'm trying to destroy their holiday.

Are there some good values involved in the secular version of Christmas? Of course. There are positives in togetherness, charity, the general spirit of giving. But at what price? This holiday has become a mindless display of the worst aspects of consumerism. We decorate our houses and yards to show how much better we are than our neighbors. We sleep outside of stores so that we can get that one special gift of the season. We spend hours cooking giant complex dinners. Thankfully, there are ways around these negatives.

My family began breaking the tradition of craziness when about five years ago, on my father's side of the family, my grandmother decided that she didn't want to make a huge Christmas dinner so she decided to bake some frozen pizzas. It was a great meal; she was able to enjoy the holidays more and we all had a good meal. Since then, the main entree has been what is essentially a chicken salad inside of a bun. Everyone loves it, it's relatively quick to prepare, and we have started a new tradition. We also began the "Secret Santa" (ironic name, but I digress) gift exchange, where each member of the family is randomly assigned one person to purchase gifts for, and nobody knows who is purchasing the gifts until the time of the gift exchange. This year will be the first time we attempt a "Secret Santa" on my mother's side, with one exception. The two children of my cousin, who are raised Catholic and believe in Santa Claus, will get gifts from everybody.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's at least a start toward sanity.

We're back!

Just a reminder - we're here if you need us.

Your thoughts?

From the No God Blog (nogodblog) over at American Atheists:

This is not a holiday for all Americans, and therefore should not be a national holiday. All Americans should have one or two "floating days", which can be used to take a day off from work on Christmas, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, their birthday, or any other day they wish. Then the religious holidays would be more sacred, and I could get some work done.


(Full column here.)

Going to shower and go eat now, more than an hour before I go into work, just in case all the restaurants start closing early.