Christmas: What does it mean to you?

Every December brings on the worse mood for me. As an atheist I would rather just skip the whole thing. However, as the only atheist in the family it’s rather difficult. Especially with my husband. The other day we had a somewhat heated discussion on my “skipping it this year”. We don’t have children so it’s not like we have to do it for them. P.S. husband is an atheist too, only tends to avoid admitting so as not to upset anyone (his parents, although they know we both are, but that’s another story).

Every year I get dragged to his parents and sit through 100s of people I do not know parading through their house. (They run a horse boarding farm and know many people.) He knows how I feel but says suffering through the “horse people” is part of Christmas. My response was: thats BULL.

My in-laws and I are not close and during the whole year I may visit twice - my husband visits by himself. Now, don’t get me wrong - my problem is not with going over and visiting with family on Christmas day. But do I really have to spend hours and hours and hours with people I don’t know and have nothing in common with?

Which brings me to my question. My SO said that everyone celebrates Christmas and that it isn’t as tied to relegion as it once was(in case your wondering, again, I said BULL). Do you agree? Your thoughts please.

<Rant> You would think that since every year (of our twelve years of marriage) I turn into the same scrouge one would think that he would want to do something to change that? Just thinking out loud. Are the holidays supposed to make you miserable? My SO is English and my family is French (Ontario, not Quebec) and as such he understands zip, zilch, nadda, bo-did of the conversations going on around him (although I do not speak French I can understand 90% if I pay close attention). I feel so bad about it that I suggest we go home. <End rant>

Thanks for listening.

To me, Christmas represents an unattractive bragging on the part of Christians that they control the United States.

I do my best to utterly ignore it, with varying success.

And a hearty ho-ho-ho to the both of you. :wink:


Fiat Justitia

As I said in another thread, to me Christmas is about Santa and presents and the “christmas spirit”–ie, charity. I like Christmas, but I don’t associate it with religion or CHristianity.

Teeming Millions:
“Meat flaps, yellow!” - DrainBead, naked co-ed Twister chat
O p a l C a t

I’m an atheist. I participate to the extent of buying gifts for children of friends. That’s about it though. I don’t do Christmas parties.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the basic idea of it, IMHO, but it’s absurdly overcommercialized, and going anywhere or doing anything is an annoying experience because of the crowds. It’s become an excuse to market things to people, and I bet 90%+ of the gifts are forgotten about within the week.

IMHO, it’s better to give somebody one, small, but well thought out gift that they might actually want, rather than a pile of crap they’re never going to look at again just because it’s Christmas and thus obligatory to give them something.

peas on earth

It sounds to me like the big problem here is NOT that you want so much to skip Christmas, but you’d sure as hell love to find a way to avoid going to your in-law’s dull party. I can relate. Back when I was married, we used to go to my husband’s Dad’s house for Christmas. It was pretty much the antitheses of a holiday for me - dull company, bad food (most of it came out of cans or boxes, and one year my father-in-law bragged about buying the dry-as-dust, tasteless turkey because it was only 8 cents a pound), no alcohol of any kind, and, being Colorado, it was usually sunny and warm on Christmas day so we had dinner in the sun room or out in the back yard.

My family celebrates holidays much differently. I grew up in the north, so Christmas was always appropriately snowy and cold. Nobody has any money, so gifts, if given, were small and not the focus of the holiday (except for the kids.) It is/was a big party day - lots and lots of good food, good liquor/wine/beer, and loud, laughing people. Anybody and everybody is invited. No wonder my ex’s pale, sterile holidays were unappealing to me.

So, my advice is - just don’t go to the in-laws. If your SO insists on celebrating, find a celebration that you BOTH enjoy. Stay at home and do what you find fun. Invite friends over if you want. Every year now, my most thankful thing on Thanksgiving and other holidays is that I’m not at my ex in-law’s house. Nobody should have to put up with that.

I’m Buddhist, but still celebrate Christmas as the tradition I grew up with. To my mind, it’s the accepted time in our good ol’ US of F’ing A culture to spend time with family and exchange gifts(hopefully of appreciation). I view it not as any Christian Doctrine- though I appreciate the more salient points attributed to Jesus- but as the Euro-Pagan holdover. The crops are done, now it’s time to reflect. And, it being cold outside, ya gotta get along with these people 'til it’s warm again…

In that ancient practical spirit, I try to count my blessings and dive in headlong to the X-Mas melee. “This is my family situation now, and how can I appreciate them.” This year, I’m going into a psycho-hell. But that’s where it is now. I think that, even without any particular theism, you can take this time as a reflection on those closest to you, and if you can’t take it as is, try to resolve the issues that have drawn you apart.

If it’s beyond resolve, just be yourself in the spirit of being together. Maybe they’ll learn something useful…

Being a godless heathen, I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, I celebrate the Spirit of the Season, a time of giving and sharing the love I have for everything in life. It seems to work well at this time because most ppl think of it as the same as Christmas and I don’t say any different. This way, I have a reason to celebrate right along with everyone else.

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

Well, so as not to be a total crank, I do celebrate New Year. I send out non-religious “holiday” cards for the new year, and I gratefully accept even the most religious of Xmas or Chanukah cards from friends, as is only polite. Thank goodness New Year is so close to Xmas!

What does Christmas mean to me? Besides being one day a year where I can get beat up by my nieces and nephews from out of town, not much.

I do throw a party for friends and co-workers every year about this time, but it’s more of a chance for them to get away from the family obligations and cut loose for a bit. Kind of like a safety valve on the old pressure cooker for 'em, or so they say. And to show them how much I appreciate their friendship thoughout the year, I get 'em all drunk!

“Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I’m worried about the difference between wrong and fun.”
~P.J. O’Rourke~

Christmas used to mean alot to me in the sense that our family got together for lots of good times and made many special memories. We always went to midnight mass together and sat in awe at my dad’s beautiful voice. Now its a time for my son and I to spend good times together and when he leaves to visit his dad, it really doesnt mean a whole lot to me other than quiet time to read my book. This will be my first Christmas alone, should be quite interesting I’m thinking.

I opened the door, and look who I found. Damn I’m good