First let me put this out there. My husband and I are atheists. Contrary to what some may believe, this does not mean we are anarchists. We do not believe in any higher being, but we do believe in and celebrate love, acceptance, understanding, and peace. We also celebrate Christmas.
Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some are raised with the traditional Catholic or Jewish practices during the holidays. Some have mixed religious families and celebrate them both together. While we all come from different backgrounds, we tend to discover our own ways to celebrate once we make our own family.
That is exactly what my husband and I did. We both were raised in Catholic homes, from baptism to confirmation. However, even after choosing to follow an irreligious lifestyle as adults, we still wanted to incorporate the idea of Christmas.
I have always loved the feeling of Christmas. Friends, family, love, food: these are a few of my favorite things. The movies, the lights, the gift giving. It is such a beautiful thing. While I do recognize and understand the religious aspect of it, our non-secular way of celebrating isn’t that much different.
While Santa may bring gifts to children like the wise men did when Jesus was born, for our non-traditional holiday, Santa still brings gifts. We teach our son that this holiday is in December to allow us to reflect what we have done throughout the year. Santa brings gifts to thank us for the hard work and kindness we have put out into the universe for that year. While we do understand the concept of naughty and nice list, our family does not follow that. The question has come up “What list am I on?” and I will always say the nice list. For me, this is a crucial thing. I cannot think of my child doing anything that would warrant a threat of no gifts, especially at the end of the year. Behavior for children is an ever growing and learning experience. For us, if you try your best to spread love and acceptance all year round, the bad decisions we make from time to time are just more learning curves that life brings us.
Traditions grow and change throughout life. One of my favorites that we have started with our son is baking on Christmas Eve. As a family we bake our own cookies to leave Santa. The holiday season can be crazy, but taking that moment together is so peaceful.
We use this time to reflect on what we have done throughout the year, what things were great, what not so much, and what we learned in the processes. We go through clothes and toys to make donations, trying to give to those who need it most. We also use Christmas as a way to thanks those we love by giving gifts signifying our appreciation. What I love most about this time of year is how everyone celebrates differently. Whether it is a completely different holiday all together, or just different versions of each, every family has its own interpretation of what love, peace, and celebration means to them.
What are your favorite (traditional or unconventional) holiday