As a member of a traditional American family I feel obligated to attend the festivities that crop up at this time every year. Since coming out of the closet so strongly this past year I have had plenty of opportunity to make my true sentiments on religion known. I get the sneaking suspicion that certain members of my immediate family are eager to bestow gifts upon me when we meet. Despite the fact that I have expressed no interest in gift sharing but rather just prefer a good meal and engaging conversation. If my suspicions are correct I may be the recipient of literature that attempts to provide evidence of god, intelligent design, or whatever.
What is the correct reaction to this event? Should one remain gracious and feign thankfulness? Or is a "What the Phuck?" response more appropriate? I don't think making a scene would accomplish much but on the other hand my family is certainly aware of my strong convictions about atheism. And it would be hard to not feel insulted by their gesture. I have enough reading material already lined up anyway. And it ain't about finding that ever elusive Sky Daddy. :^ )
Accept the gift graciously and discuss with them why they felt it necessary to buy you that gift in particular. No need to be rude or ungrateful, despite what you think of their beliefs, a certain degree of decorum is due to anyone kind enough to give you something. :)
I believe this path falls under the category of stress. The confusion caused when ones mind overrides the body's natural desire to choke the living shit out of some asshole that desperately needs it.
I'm OK with your suggestion in all seriousness. But restraint is a four letter word. :^ )
I agree with Carl tho I would also feel irritated and manipulated into receiving the gift - people would be relying on my politeness and sense of occasion in order to make me accept something they know I do not want. I would be tempted to have copies of The God Delusion and God is not Great and Demon Haunted World on hand to give or lend to them in the same spirit but I am an argumentative person who dislikes being coerced in any way! This often works against me!
Helen's response was my first thought also. Give them "The Portable Atheist" . They probably won't read it but I am sure it will get the point across.
I say let 'em have it.
In all seriousness, I'd probably just fake gratitude, re-sell it on Amazon (assuming I didn't have a receipt), and buy a Hitchens book I haven't read yet.
Or maybe, "Oh thank you! How did you know I was running low on toilet paper?!?!"
The kid telling Jimmy Kimmel to suck his balls was too funny. The toilet paper line is good as well.
buy a 12 pack of your favorite beer and have football on tv enjoy the night dude. we always go to my wife's auntie's house and she is super religious, and everybody knows we are atheists and i am very open about it, but even for toasts now before the celebration god never comes up, it is always about family and love for each other. it takes time.
your correct reaction should be to remain gracious and they are probably thinking the same thing. do not read too much into the presents you receive. anyways presents are fun to give and receive. or u can suggest the game we kind of play where every adult buys one present and we put it in a pile and than we put everybody's name in a bucket and a kid picks out a name and that person picks up a random gift from the pile.
Take their gifts with a "thank you" then sell the books on amazon! ^_^
For the sake of keeping things light, I might laugh good-heartedly, and say something like, "oh, Steven/Jimbob/Enrique/Etc., you're such a joker!" Preferably, use a tone of voice that is cheerful but not ironically so. Then I would 'forget' to take the gift with me...hey, it happens all the time! Since I get the impression you don't visit them often, you have a whole year for them to get tired of hanging onto your gift and toss the dross. But I'm just going off of the vibe I get that you don't respect or enjoy these people and only grudgingly fulfill your seasonal obiligations. Eh, there's actually no judgement there--I have family I can't stand too.
you know what to do: you give them present face.
Tell em your sick of buying into this religious dribble but you love them all anyway. Invite them all round to yours for a slap up meal and tell them if they talk about religion that is a house rule sin and they will burn in hell forever. If they play by your rules they will be rewarded with 50 virgins when they get home!
Maybe tweak that last bit, but you get my drift.