Christmas and Religion!

[deleted account] ( 53 moms have responded )

I'm curious to know about your Christmas traditions and where they stem from. Isn't Christmas a religious holiday? Do atheists celebrate? What does it mean to you?

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Jenny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Christmas is rooted in Pagan tradition and bastardised into Jesus' birthday in the early days of the Church's marketing machine.

I am athiest and Christmas to me is a family celebration. It is way too commercialized and I am trying to move away from that (requesting few toys and used goods this year) while still keeping it fun for the kids. I love deocrating, I love the big dinner, I love playing games with the family and hanging in our jammies all day.

I'm not offended by other's religious ties to the day either. I still say Merry Christmas but I don't support using city funds for Nativity scenes. Christmas is many things to many people and anyone who says "they" are taking Christ out of Christmas is just looking for something to complain about.

Johnny - posted on 11/06/2010

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I grew up atheist and I'm now an agnostic. Growing up, Christmas was about the tree, the feast, and the family. Together, we made our pledges for our volunteer work over the next year and just spent time hanging out. When I went through my teenage religious phase, I went to church, but otherwise, my family has never believed in Christmas as the day to celebrate the birth of Christ, but more akin to the pagan yule celebrations. Not believing in a supernatural power does not mean you don't want to celebrate the wonder of the world. That was always our Christmas focus. That and eating, lol.

My husband's family were Christians, but in their sect they do not celebrate Christmas with trees and such. And they usually have their feasts on Eastern Orthodox Christmas, January 6, I think. His siblings have always done Christmas with their kids, but it's more about the fun than the religion.

If Christmas was a solely religious holiday, like Palm Sunday or something, then we wouldn't celebrate it. But the traditions of Christmas are not solely religious, and historically it was a day chosen by the church because it allowed pagan converts to continue having a celebration at a time when they had previously celebrated the solstice.

Lucy - posted on 11/06/2010

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Our extended family are 50/50 Pagan and Christian, but since most Christmas traditions are originally based on Pagan Midwinter customs (exchanging gifts, candles/lights, family meal, bringing trees and evergreens indoors etc,) it doesn't pose a problem and means that we can all celebrate together what ever the day means to us.

It's all about family in our house, and there are lots of us so it's great fun. The kids get a few "bought" gifts in their stockings, but other than that we have a home made presents only rule, which mean people have taken time and care to create something for those who mean most to us. The TV doesn't go on at all, and we play daft games like charades and just enjoy each other's company.

[deleted account]

I'm just gonna answer the last question. What does Christmas mean to me? Well, it's kinda in the same category as Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity to stop and look at my friends and loved ones and be grateful for them (even the annoying ones). It's a chance for me to reflect on how lucky I am to have a good and simple life. I think that's the version of Christmas I'm gonna teach Jacob.

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Nikkole - posted on 11/07/2010

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Me and my family dont do anything religious for xmas we have traditions tho we go out every year and cut down a Christmas tree bring it home put it up the next day, We paint ornaments for the tree, then on xmas eve we bake cookies and a ham or turkey for the next day and make reindeer food for "santas reindeer" lol we put oats and glitter in a bag and sprinkle it on the lawn and then my husband will dress up as Santa and walk around the house and get on the roof and my son LOVED it last year and then we leave out cookies for him and go to bed!

Kate CP - posted on 11/07/2010

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Granulated sugar is just plain white sugar. Like the kind you put in tea.



Also, canned pumpkin is just pumpkin puree. Follow the steps Rhea outlined earlier and you'll have the equivalent of canned pumpkin. HOWEVER! Make sure you buy a PIE pumpkin and not a CARVING pumpkin. Pie pumpkins are sweeter and smaller.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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Thanks Kate! So yeah there is no canned pumpkin here but I gather it's just mashed pumpkin with nothing in it? Is granulated sugar the same as raw sugar?

[deleted account]

Thanks Kate i'm always after new recipes to try! i have never ad pumpkin pie but imake the best pumpkin soup!

Hannah - posted on 11/07/2010

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I love Christmas! The music, food, get togethers with family and friends, SNOW, pretty lights, shopping for gifts - the hussle and bussle of it all. It is my favorite time of the year.

I've worked in retail for about 10+ years now and I can tell you, there are a lot of people who spend way too much of their focus on gifts. You can tell who it is when someone thats waiting in line is really b*tchy and demanding, and they act like its YOUR fault. Sorry, but don't be snarky with me when you have only x amount of time to do your shopping and you get stuck in line....I just want to scream at them and say CHILL out!

Hubby and I generally don't spend a lot of money on gifts for other people, its usually just a box of chocolates and a card. I mean really who could afford to buy EVERYONE they know a "decent" gift.

This year is our sons first christmas so it is really hard NOT to spend money on him, but we figure that one gift from us and another from Santa :) And of course a little something for his stocking!

One bonus to being on mat leave right now is no listening to christmas music ALL day long! :D

[deleted account]

If there's no canned pumpkin where you live, you can get a pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds (save and bake for a tasty snack!) and either steam the pumpkin (may want to cut up in smaller pieces) in some water or bake the halves face down on a cookie sheet at 180 degrees Celcius until soft (can prick with a fork). The scoop out of shell and puree.

Kate CP - posted on 11/07/2010

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The best pumpkin pie you will ever have:
3 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 cup canned pumpkin (DO NOT BUY THE PIE MIX! PLAIN CANNED PUMPKIN!)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup half and half
1 raw pie crust (you can cheat and buy the pre-made stuff)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat together eggs and sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, spices, a pinch of salt, and mix thoroughly. Stir in cream and half and half. Place pie crust in a pie pan and crimp the edges. Pour in filling. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake and additional 40 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife by inserting it 3 inches from center (as if you're slicing it to serve) and knife should come out clean if done. The center MAY crack, but it will still taste just as good.

Yes, it's got a lot of cinnamon in it but it really does need that much (if not more!). :)

Jodi - posted on 11/07/2010

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I was raised strict roman catholic but now I'm agnostic, same story for my husband. We celebrate Christmas but not in a religious sense. To me, Christmas isn't about Jesus, it's about the spirit of giving, compassion, hope, it's about family, friends, love and being together. I know a lot of catholics who celebrate Christmas without ever cracking open their bible or mentioning Jesus to their children or attending a church service, it's not alllll about religion, even for the religious!

[deleted account]

I was brought up Roman Catholic and my husband had no religion. We'd consider ourselves athiest now but we still celebrate Christmas. We put the tree up (not this year though as Logan will probably pull it over), and decorate the house. For us it's a time of family, love, giving and food! We go to my mam's for dinner then we're going to come home and spend the rest of the day just the three of us.

Whether it's a Christian festival or not plenty of people celebrate it. My mam's neighbours who are Sikh do. I think it's more so the fact for the children and they don't celebrate it religiously.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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Me too. Someone from the US or Canada needs to post a recipe for pumpkin pie so I can make it and know what it tastes like.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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Ohh Fiona I forgot about the stone fruit and prawns lol nectarines are my favourite and reek of Christmas and rum balls!!

[deleted account]

Non-religious here (spiritualist not atheist). Christmas=food, family, friends, fun oh, and food, food, food.

We don't go in for the traditional decorating stuff, just a houseplant usually gets some tinsel and a star or something, some lights in a window. This year I'm feeling festive and am putting out a tree sculpture with a few more decorations, but still more a minimalist/artistic feel than traditional. Gifts for children and close family, little presents (usually of food, like homemade fudge or chocolates or roasted nuts etc) for random friends, but not a huge emphasis on giving gifts or spending money, more emphasis on spending time and enjoying the company of those we love.

We are Australian and it is hot, hot, hot here over Christmas so we sit around and eat (for us it's usually a big lunch feast) lots of seafood, cold meats (yes, cold roast turkey as well as ham, cold roast chicken etc) and salads, tons of tropical and stone fruit (mangoes, lychees, pawpaw, berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines etc), Christmas pudding and custard, go for a swim, have a day sleep, another swim, catch up with family and friends and generally spread good cheer. Lots of cold beer, cold wine, champagne (wishing I wasn't pregnant this christmas!) and cocktails.

For us Christmas is more about taking a relaxed holiday during a hot, sticky time of year. Time to stop and think about who is important to us and spend some time with those we love. It is a huge public holiday and almost everything is closed for a couple of days, so it is just a time to have a forced slow down for us. Santa, Jesus and all that gang are all present obviously in the spirit of the celebration and certainly in the lead up (marketing, advertising etc), but not our focus. More than thankful to them for the holiday, though... Cheers!

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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Mine just stem from my parents. I was raised a Christian and we went to Church on Christmas and then opened presents and had cold ham and shell salad etc. for lunch. We never believed in Santa or any of that but had a tree with lights and went Christmas light hunting.



Damian and I don't go to church so we don't make that big of a deal of Christmas but it's nice to have Damo home for 10 days and give each other gifts and spend time together and now that we have Logan we can teach him about giving on Christmas etc. and have turkey and stuff.

[deleted account]

Pagan Christian household here.



Love decorating. We start end of November beginning of December. We always have an artificial tree. Can't bring myself to get a real one and watch it die. You can get a few years good use out of the fake kind.

I love lights. Once we get our back garden fixed, I'm going to buy masses of solar powered twinkle lights to cover it every December (I might leave them up all year round!).



Christmas involves lots of food. Christmas eve we have a mini buffet. Lots of snacks and nibbles. Most importantly Twiglets! I prepare everything for Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. Chop the vegetables, make my stuffing's (which are the best), stuff and roast the turkey. There's no room on our table for a whole turkey plus eating room so it's easier to cut the bird up the night before and reheat when I roast the potatoes the next day. Christmas morning requires the basic Christmas essential breakfast ... Bacon sandwiches! Christmas dinner consists of roast turkey, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, mashed swede, peas, carrots, pigs in blankets (cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon), brussel sprouts, stuffings, cranberry sauce and lashings of hot gravy. Christmas supper is usually more snacks, twiglets, homemade pickled onions and some from the shops, cheeses and crackers, oh and ham.

Boxing day we have a big buffet of everything we have left! And I forgot desserts, Christmas pudding, mince pies and just lots of chocolate for me!



Lots of Christmas music. My favourite would be blasting out Last Christmas by Wham! and singing over it even louder.



We do Santa. Santa gets Baileys, a mince pie and a carrot for one of his reindeer. I get the Baileys, Jay gets the mince pie and the dog can have the carrot!

I find Santa works as a good bribe for getting the kids to bed early " if you aren't in bed asleep when he's in the area, he may just fly right on by".





*edit to add* we usually have family around on Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day - we don't consume all that food ourselves!

Jenny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Upon further review it looks delicious. Thank you for sharing. But still screw you cause I'm having frozen turkey, again. And they don't count as bugs.

[deleted account]

Christmas is Family, friends and food LOTS of good food. I wish i lived closer to the coast so we could have the seafood but as i live 4ish hours away from the coast it just is not going to happen so we have lots of frsh fruit and salad. Cold ham. If our aircon is fixed we will prob have pork as well.
But it's more in the leadup and seeing family that we don't see that makes it special.

[deleted account]

Tara what you described is how it feels for our family to. That was a beautiful picture you painted for my mind! :D

Jenny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Screw you Loureen. Booooooo!



On second review, you're gonna have to elaborate on the bugs.

Charlie - posted on 11/06/2010

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Yeah we dont have much hot foods just lobster , buckets of prawns , oyster kilpatrick , mussels in white wine sauce , balmain bugs , whole salmon , loads of salads , cold ham , pudding and oh yeah my nannas famous scallop mornay .

Johnny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Umm, Dana, actually my Dad makes the BEST stuffing ever! Perhaps a stuffing battle is in order!

[deleted account]

Oh, I'm very well aware that Jesus wasn't born anywhere near December 25, but it's still the day that has been chosen to celebrate His birth... though His birth, death, and resurrection is something worth celebrating every day... IMO, of course.

[deleted account]

We go to our church's big Christmas Eve service every year (only missed 2 times in 10 years). That's pretty much the only 'tradition' we have.

What does it mean? It's the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth which is extremely significant to me as a Christian (though not quite as significant as Easter). :)

[deleted account]

Don't get me wrong, I love seafood but....

We do an Italian/Polish feast (lasagna, eggplant parmagiana, pergogies, cabbage rolls etc.) on Christmas eve and then have a big turkey dinner (can't forget the stuffin' -- my mom makes THE best stuffin') with all our extended families on Christmas day. Leftovers for the next week...anyone? Carol, you live close?!

Johnny - posted on 11/06/2010

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We have seafood at Christmas too. Our family has a salmon and shellfish feast on Christmas eve. It's a Norwegian thing. We eat tourtiere (French Canadian pork pie) when we decorate the tree a few nights before Christmas.

[deleted account]

Seafood at Christmas? You Aussies ARE weird -- I thought I'd heard it all with Christmas in the summer but....

Charlie - posted on 11/06/2010

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Its about family , food , good times , great memories , cold beer and warm pudding oh and SHIT loads of seafood , did i mention food ?
Its about creating the wonderful fairytale that is christams , santa , raindeer , trees , decorations and watching the kids enjoy it with a smile that goes from ear to ear .

*sigh* i love christmas !

[deleted account]

@ Dana : my two front teeth :-3 (That's supposed to be a smiley with two front teeth but it looks more like balls on a chin ROFL)

Jocelyn - posted on 11/06/2010

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For me, Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus (he was born in early Autumn!). Christmas is about getting together with family, baking, decorating ( I LOVE decorating!), crafting (I'm making advent calenders this year), playing in the snow and tobogganing, putting up the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas carols (I even listen to the ones that sing about baby Jesus!)
I am Pagan as well, so basically, I just celebrate the whole darn month of December lol.
Oh and we can't forget Santa: We always leave out cookies and milk for Santa, and a carrot for Rudolf.
I also help answer Santa letters every year for Canada Post. I can get very emotional reading those letters.

[deleted account]

Oh, and I have one of those block sets...you know the cheesy ones with one letter on each block that spells out "Happy Holidays" or something. Mine says, "Bah Humbug." It's my favorite decoration!

[deleted account]

@ Dana...World Peace...hehe

@ Joy..."O Holy Night" is my absolute favorite carol. It is a very powerful song.

Kate CP - posted on 11/06/2010

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Christmas is about family. In our family we make each other gifts (except the men because they're not that crafty so they get to buy stuff). My sister knits and paints; I make jewelry and bake; and my mother likes to put together things like family cookbooks, photo albums, and other things to keep family close. This helps keep the gifts more personal AND less expensive. We're not worried about who spent more on whom. I host Christmas Eve dinner where we open stockings. Christmas Day starts with the kiddo waking up to see what Santa brought (one big gift like a rocking horse or a play kitchen is what she's got in the past) and then we pack up and head over to my mother's where we exchange gifts with the rest of the family. Then we typically have naps/movies and then we have Christmas dinner.

Krista - posted on 11/06/2010

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We always do the tree and the gifts and eating so much food that you need to wear special pants...you know, the usual. We used to go to church on xmas eve, but that fell by the wayside -- I think we were just doing it because my mom had done that all her life and felt that we were "supposed to". But once I started not going, eventually she stopped going as well. To me, Christmas means spending time with your loved ones, and listening to beautiful music, and trying to find the perfect gift, and just the excitement and fun and magic of the season.

Jakki - posted on 11/06/2010

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Re commercialisation - I hate how so many parents encourage their kids to focus only on the presents they get on Xmas day. I do my little bit by asking kids about what they did on the day and who did they spend time with, but not asking "what did you GET?"

The other thing I sometimes do is ask older kids "did you give any nice presents?" They look a bit surprised when I ask that!

Tara - posted on 11/06/2010

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For us Christmas is mainly about food, friends and family and fun. We love to eat great homemade baked goods, gather for feasts whether it's breakfast in our fuzzy jammies with Bailey's in our coffee and the old Christmas tunes on the cd player or dinner with all the trimmings followed by pie and ice cream, we have family traditions like getting the tree, and baking cookies while someone else does the lights on it, making escargot and other tasty foods for Christmas eve's buffet style dinner etc. we love the food aspect as much as everything else!!
I love the tradition of the kids cleaning their rooms really really well in anticipation of "annual toy renewal time" lol, but we always go through their stuff with them and they decide which things they have outgrown or don't use/want anymore. Often the older kids will polish something up, wrap it and give to a younger sib for Christmas, or pass on a set of books they have read enough times etc.
We then talk about what they got last year, where is it now, did they think it was a good present or not so good and why? Did they use it? Do they still use it? Are all the pieces still with it etc.?
This tradition if you want to call it that, makes gift giving much easier in our home, lol
I also love the feeling of anticipation the night before, we usually play games, charades or board games, have a few drinks after the kids are in bed and just enjoy the spirit of the evening , the magic that is Christmas eve.
Morning we eat breakfast before presents, usually something good like Pancakes or Waffles with ice cream or whipped cream and fruit etc.
I love Christmas time, always have. We decorate but not too much, we shop locally and in smaller stores and try to make stuff as much as we can.
Great thread!!

[deleted account]

Well my Canadian Christmas traditions are the typical types of traditions. We also watch Christmas classics: White Christmas, Miracle on 49th Street, Christmas Vacation. One year we watched the Godfather.

I live in NL now so our traditions here are much more traditional. We have the Advent wreath during Advent (leading up to Christmas). Christmas Eve, we spend with the in-laws and at Mass. Christmas morning, we go to Mass then go to the in-laws, open presents, have a lunch that lasts all day and spend time together until the late hours. Second Christmas day we spend together again. The Christkind brings the presents at Christmas. Sinterklaas (what Americans know as Santa) brings presents leading up to his Saint day in the beginning of December.

Christmas is a religious holiday. Discussing which pagan holiday it overshadows is moot. It is Christ's Mass. And Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. That's what it means to me.

[deleted account]

About the commercialization thing? Hell yeah, I think Christmas is THE most commercialized event of the year. I always dread making a list and having to figure out what to get everyone, while remaining thoughtful and within budget. I try to send everyone something home made or personal, like a framed photo or baked goods. We always ask that people don't give us gifts. If they insist, I tell them if they HAVE to do something, either donate to a charity or put $5 into Jacob's college account. We (Steve & I) usually only buy each other one gift (with a $$ limit) and an "us" gift. This year the "us" gift is a much needed new set of pots & pans and I'm splurging on either the Rachael Ray or the Paula Dean set because I'm tired of buying the cheapo ones from Wal Mart every 3 or 4 years.

And sorry to all of you caroling, happy Christmassy people (lol) but from the first Christmas song I hear and the first Christmas commercial I see, I cringe and my inner scrooge plugs her ears and goes "la la la la la" for about 6 weeks. I do like "Oh Holy Night" but it makes me cry for some reason. I can't STAND "Joy to the World" (and it's SO ORIGINAL to be serenaded by it when you have a name like mine lol) I also like to watch "A Christmas Story" and "It's a Wonderful Life" but I don't go out of my way to see them. If they're on when I turn on the boob tube, I watch.

I will say that since having Jacob, I do try to make it more festive around the house. We put up a tree and string some lights around the window but I don't go all crazy with decorations. Considering that before Jacob was born, I hadn't put up a tree or a single decoration in over 10 years, I think I'm making progress lol

Mostly, as soon as January 1st rolls around, I sigh a huge sigh of relief and put my bah humbug attitude on a shelf for another 11 months.

Rosie - posted on 11/06/2010

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i am atheist, but i grew up christian. even then christmas was never really all about christ. we went to church on christmas, but at home we had the tree and presents and no mention of jesus ever.
for my family now, christmas to me is a time to celebrate my family being together, and to see the joy in my childrens eyes on christmas morning. i love it. from the music, to the lights, to the food, i cannot get enough of christmas. i used to get stressed out about it, worrying about getting gifts for everyone, but i have just learned that my kids come first and others will like what we get them, even if it didn't cost more than $20. in my family it truly is the thought that counts. it's about time i learned that, lol!

Leah - posted on 11/06/2010

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We have very un-relgious traditions. Both myself and my husband are not religious so Christmas is just a time to spend time with family and embrace the spirit of the season. I love when Halloween is over so that the Christmas commercials come on and can't wait for the radio stations to start playing Christmas music! My husband is a scrooge so I have to be careful how much I do with fear of irritating him LMAO! Since we were kids we celebrated Christmas on the 24th (opening presents, doing our dinner etc) and Christmas day was meant to visit extended family and this tradition is continuing with our children. Presents have never been a big deal in our family, havnt exchanged presents with my parents or siblings for years and encourage them not to indulge my kids in too many presents either (easier said than done as they are the only grandchildren/neice/nephew!!)
Christmas means a great deal to me as a time to be close to those we care about the most and hopefully my kids will focus more on that and less on material items when they get a little older (they are only 3 years and 12 months!)

Jessica - posted on 11/06/2010

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I adore Christmas or because I'm pagan Yule or Winte Solstice, which is actually on Dec.21st. So kinda like with Christians and Christs birthday, the 25th is just a good day for celebrating whatever you believe and bringing happiness and magic of the season into our lives. We actually do our gift giving on the 24th and have a big buffet and then on the morning of the 25th there is a gift each and stocking each filled for everyone from "Santa" Then we have the big turkey dinner that night.
I love decorating the tree, making insane amounts of yummy food, laughing and singing and just enjoying the season. Even though I don't believe in the Christian god, I do go to a Christmas mass with my niece and nefew to watch them sing every year and I sing the christmas carols myself ( I adore singing).
I may not believe in that religion but the songs are beautiful and generally have a beautiful messege.
We will teach my munchkin about the origins of Christmas, Santa and that the season is about love, and that the pretty lights, decorations, great food and gifts have a place to but that love its always the most important :)

[deleted account]

You brought up something interesting, Mary. Why does this holiday HAVE to be about giving and receiving? Do you feel the holiday has lost some of it's meaning through commercialization?

ME - posted on 11/06/2010

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We have religious traditions and non-religious ones...Midnight mass, vegetarian soup for dinner on xmas eve (Catholics aren't supposed to eat meat), advent wreath...We also make Santa cookies and decorate a live xmas tree with them, give away baked goods as xmas gifts, etc...I LOVE xmas...if it weren't for all the stress associated with buying shit and receiving shit, it would definitely be my favorite holiday!

[deleted account]

I'm sure you can guess my stance on this! We have a good mix of religious/non-religious traditions.

As far as it being a religious holiday...yes and no. December 25 is pagan. I'm sure you will get a complete history from one of the many intelligent women on this forum! I recognize that and that is likely not the day Christ was born. (but who knows?) But Christ is important in my life and I want to celebrate Him. So why not on that day?

I heart Christmas! Husband leads worship at our church and was trying to find some new medleys for the Christmond service. The house was filled with Christmas music, and it made me happy!

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