I'm just curious, as an theist parent, do you celebrate Christmas? And, if so, what do you tell your kids about Christmas?
I've always told my kids (in short summary) the religious tradition of Christmas, but that we celebrate it because of tradition, not religion.
Haven't had that convo with the kiddo yet, but it will be cultural.
It's a traditional midwinter festival going back thousands of years. Jesus was born in September, was he not?
I still maintain that Jesus (as in born of a virgin, son of God, Jesus) never really existed...
I don't know what I've ever said to my 8 year old about it, so I just asked him. I asked him, "Why do people celebrate Christmas?" He said, "It has something to do with it being Jesus' birthday." Then I asked him, "Why do we celebrate it?" He replied, "Because we like to get presents? I don't believe in god and all that and I know you don't either." *
Then I asked him if he believed in Santa Claus and he said, "Of course I do! I don't know why he's so fat though."
* I have always been honest about my atheism but have told him that other people believe all kinds of things in which he too is free to believe.
Love this! :)
I celebrate Giftmas. Happy Giftmas Everyone !
We have always pointed out to our kids that Christmas is a Pagan not a Christian festival. The date that approximated to the 25th December was celebrated in ancient days the Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (Yule), it is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.
Ancient north European people were hunters and spent most of their time outside roaming the land. The seasons and weather were the most important part of their lives so because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe (as far south as what is now northern Netherlands and the North German Plains) saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. “Houl” was the word for this wheel that the word Yule is thought to have originated. At mid-winter festival the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank a sweeten ale. The winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months. Happily this is a celebration my farming in-laws still mark, much to the annoyance of the local Dutch Reform Church minister! On the day of the 21st we trek up to Nijmegen to find the farm decorated up with greenery and a bonfire already well lit outside one of the big barns and tables of food, lanterns strung about, and hot wine or ale for pushed into your hands, its rather lovely actually.
The Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year (calendars have shifted a bit over the centuries). “Saturnalia” ran for seven days from the 17th of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned all around. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants. The festival involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, feasting, holding processions and giving presents. We live in Maastricht, the oldest city in the Netherlands and a former Roman city so our children love this connection.
Christianity is merely a rather nouveau riche, dishonest usurper grasping for the power afforded by conning the hearts and minds of people. Unable to do it on its own merits it steals from others - which should tell us all we need to know about it ! lol.
Nina van der Roos.
We've pointed this out to our kids as well (that Christmas is a Pagan holiday, not Christian). Knowledge is power.
@Lesa - interesting read:
That's great! I'm a hippie at heart, how did I not know this already :D Thank you. I can't wait for my kids to read this, they're gonna love it. More knowledge.