“Holiday Traditions for Atheists?”

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    September 29, 2017 at 5:32 pm #719329

    My sister and I got wrapped presents from Santa as well! Even now, I’ll get a gift labeled from Rudolph or Mrs. Claus.
    I kind of figured out that Santa wasn’t real on my own… Mostly because it just didn’t logically make sense and the handwriting on the packages were always my mom’s. I just kept it to myself, though.

    Northern Star
    September 29, 2017 at 6:30 pm #719330

    Rangerchic, yes- we unwrapped gifts from Santa on Christmas Day. Santa always used special, different wrapping paper. 😉

    I didn’t feel betrayed when I realized Santa wasn’t real. But I wonder if kids who already have trust or safety issues with their parents have a different experience. My parents didn’t insist that Santa REALLY existed once I figured it out, either.

    September 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm #719384

    @NorthernStar, yes, I imagine it was something along those lines with my husband. His parents divorced when he was around 10, and things were rough for a few years before that. He doesn’t like to talk about it, but seeing his relationship with his parents now, my guess is that he felt insecure and anxious with his home situation. And having something he believed in pulled out from under him like that was damaging to him, in that situation.

    September 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm #719388

    While I grew up in a somewhat religious home, lots of our Christmas traditions have nothing to do with faith.

    My mom was pretty strict about sugar, but for Christmas each kid got to pick out a box of what she called “junk” cereal. I always picked lucky charms.

    We’d get to open it Christmas morning.

    No matter what kind of Christmas candy we got, I was always so excited to have my first bowl of lucky charms Christmas morning.

    October 1, 2017 at 1:31 pm #719616

    Oh I love the cereal one! This and the pajamas and the book thing are sooooo what I meant!

    THanks everyone, I love hearing about these!

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    October 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm #719621

    I grew up in an atheist household, but with Christmas traditions from one side and Hannukah ones from the other. We just always celebrated the fun, non-religious parts. We do 7 fishes for Christmas Eve dinner, which is an Italian tradition where you have seven different kinds of seafood incorporated into the meal. We kinda cheat to make it easier by having shrimp cocktail as one appetizer and then some kind of seafood stew knocks out a bunch of the other ones, haha. We also always light the Hannukah candles and we’d get fancy chocolates and maybe one small gift. My mom thought it wasn’t fair that there was no Jewish equivalent to Santa so she invented the Hannukah chicken, who lays the chocolate. Pretty silly. Every year with my friends I host a yankee swap/white elephant/whatever you want to call it (everyone brings one funny gift, and then there is a game where you get to take a gift or steal from someone else) and I make latkes and light some candles and have chocolate. This year, I’ll be visiting my boyfriend’s family for the holidays for the first time (and then we’ll visit my family) and I can’t wait for lots of lovely traditions!

    October 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm #719629

    Writting a christmas list with your child to send to santa. maybe look through a catalogue or take them round toy shops and get them to pick out a few toys they like. Take your child to visit santa at a shopping mall or somewhere. Make them a christmas eve box with some xmas pjs in, christmas film/book, christmas colouring or crafts, hot chocolste sachet and some sweets. You could even get matching xmas pjs for yourself partner and child. Have a designated day for putting up the decs and let your child get involved. Maybe even buy them their own 3ft tree, take them shopping for ornaments and let them/help decorate it how they like. Put out milk cookie and carrot with your child before they go to bed. Sprinkle some reindeer dust outside. Let them pick a place to put santas magic key or santa stop here sign. A tradition from when I was little that I know do with my kids, leave a pressy at the end of their bed so its the first one they open. We always have a new pair of slippers and dressing gown and we put them on and walk into the living room wearing them. Get together with your neices and nephews on xmas day and eat together play games and exchange gifts.

    October 2, 2017 at 11:31 am #719976

    Am I the only one who isn’t crazy about Christmas? As a kid I loved it but as an adult I’m just kind of “meh” about it. Maybe it’s because I have to travel 1.5-2 hours away to visit relatives and there’s usually traffic and there’s 15 of us so it’s chaotic. I like Christmas Eve better, my aunt and her long term boyfriend come to my mom’s for dinner, and my boyfriend has joined the past 3 Christmases. So there’s only 4-5 of us and there’s wine and my mom cooks and it’s more intimate and fun. Also present-giving is stressful. It’s great when someone loves the gift you give, but I spend a lot of time trying to pick out gifts.

    I do like watching all of The Office’s Christmas-themed episodes around Christmas! And the movie The Holiday.

    I realized Santa wasn’t real partially because of the handwriting being similar to my mom’s, as someone else mentioned. I unwrapped gifts from him too. I think I realized around age 9 and then didn’t tell my parents for a couple of years because I felt bad and didn’t want them to be disappointed.

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    October 2, 2017 at 11:43 am #719977

    K, you’re not alone – my husband isn’t a big fan of Christmas, or most holidays really. I think I’ve brought him around on some traditions over the years… But if given the option, he’d be on a beach somewhere far away and forget Christmas is anything more than an extra day off of work.

    lucia_la – a Hanukkah chicken is hilarious! I kind of want to do that now…

    October 2, 2017 at 11:48 am #719978

    Another Jew here, but we still had Christmas traditions growing up. On Christmas eve after dinner (don’t remember any particular food theme, but a particular meal is always a good place to start a tradition) we would go for a walk around the neighborhood to look at lights. And Christmas day we would always go see a movie in the afternoon. We had catholic friends whose house we usually went to for Christmas day dinner, so I might be the only Jew in the country who doesn’t have a tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas

    Now that I’m married to a Catholic, well we haven’t really had a routine yet because some years I’ve worked and some years we’ve visited family, but 2 years ago we went camping and that was the best, although that’s a warm climate only option, probably. We brought Christmas lights and strung up the closest tree to our campsite, and we had cocoa (with Baileys… I really am sensing a theme here) and listened to Christmas music before going to bed. Then the next day we had a nice breakfast cooked over the fire and went hiking. I would love to make that our tradition, so I could opt out of having to fly for the holidays.

    October 2, 2017 at 11:56 am #719979

    Oh and @RedRoverRedRover, my parents I think handled the Santa thing really well. As Jews we didn’t believe in Santa or get gifts from Santa or whatever, but my parents told us about it like it was some cool adult conspiracy and we agreed to help keep up the secret for the other kids and their parents.
    So when our friends told us about Santa we all nodded knowingly and said we totally believed, and felt superior because our parents let us in on the secret.

    I also remember when I was 8 or 9 that we went to a holiday party for my dad’s work with a Santa and the parents were supposed to bring wrapped gifts for Santa to hand out to their kids. So even though I knew what we got, we all still put on the show like we got presents from *the real Santa!*

    October 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm #719985

    Sounds like most of you unwrapped Santa gifts. Maybe I’m the odd ball out then 🙂

    @K – Now that my girls are older and we no longer live close to family (12 hrs away) Xmas isn’t as fun for me either. But even before we moved I started having grinch like feelings on Xmas. I think it was the expectations and overall commercial feel of it. Now it is a lot more low key with just the four of us I’m coming to appreciate and like it again.

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