To Those Who Make the Magic, Here’s To You!

Christmas

I remember Christmas when I was a kid. The music, the cookies, the decorations, the gifts. We didn't do Santa, but it was still a very magical time. I remember how much I looked forward to Christmas. It always seemed like it would never come!And now, I'm the adult. Now, it's my job to create that magic for my own children. You know what no one told me when I was a kid? First of all, no one told me how much was involved in creating that magic. And second, no one told me that making that magic … [Read more...]

Balancing Fear, Love, and Family

family

Visiting my parents' house is always strange. There are such happy memories around every corner, mixed in some weird way with memories of pain and heartbreak. And then there are my younger siblings, the majority of them still at home, still living the life I knew growing up. Others have grown and left home, but still return for the holidays.(There really should be a book on how relationships between siblings evolve from kid-kid relationships to adult-adult relationships. It's a fascinating … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving, according to Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm sure you're all enjoying your Turkey and pumpkin pie, but I thought I'd offer something to read in case you need a break from family and frivolity. Below are two quotes about Thanksgiving from famous nineteenth century humorist Mark Twain, whom I absolutely adore. Happy reading!This first quotation is from Twain's autobiography: Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they r … [Read more...]

What Thanksgiving Means To Me

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us. I have to say, fall is one of my most favorite times of the year - first Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, all right in a row. The decorations, the music, the food, the holiday spirit - I love it. Coming from a large family - and having a large extended family - only heightened the holiday cheer growing up, and today I help create that cheer for my own family. So I thought I'd take a moment to talk about Thanksgiving traditions and what Thanksgiving means … [Read more...]

Atheism through the holidays, part 4: How to deal with religious relatives

I know this is late - the holidays are now over - but I don't really have all that much experience with this one, having only been an atheist for a few years, and I wanted to let another holiday season go by before addressing it.When it comes to dealing with religious relatives during the holidays, my biggest strategy is simply keeping my mouth shut. First of all, some of my relatives know I'm an atheist while others don't, which makes things complicated and makes keeping my own counsel … [Read more...]

Atheism through the holidays, part 3: Family, generosity, and the true meaning of Christmas

Most Christians want Christmas to focus on the birth of their savior. Mass marketing, on the other hand, forwards the idea that Christmas is about getting stuff. Children come into contact with all sorts of ideas about holidays, but it is a child's parents that set the tone for the holiday celebration at home. So as a parent, I ask myself, what do I want Christmas to be about for my children? What meaning for the holiday do I want to convey to them? I think that every parent should ask this … [Read more...]

Atheism through the holidays, part 2: What to do about baby Jesus

My parents homeschooled me in part to "shelter" me - to keep me from what they considered "bad influences." They carefully monitored what movies we watched, who we were friends with, what we read and learned, and where we went or what we saw. The goal was to raise us to share their beliefs, unadulterated by potential corruption from ideas and beliefs they considered "wrong."Having been raised this way, I have to avoid falling into the same pattern. Sometimes it's tempting to think that I … [Read more...]


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