Thanksgiving is past, and, on December first, I always hang our "Advent Calendar" on the wall in the family room near the fireplace.  The calendar is fringed burlap with a large, green felt tree in the middle.  There are 24 red buttons sewn on the tree. 


This was a handmade gift from a dear friend many years ago before I even had children, and my children are now ages 22 and 28. 


Each day from December 1st through December 24th, a colorful felt ornaments is taken from a pocket on the calendar, and that ornament is hung on one of the red buttons on the felt tree.  There are a snowflake, a drum, a bugle, a holly leaf, a wreath, a snowman, a candy cane, Santa, a reindeer, and so on. 


Pocket number 24 always contains "baby Jesus" in half a walnut shell.


I'm fine with most of the colorful and whimsical symbols of the make-believe and romance associated with the season, but will admit that I feel somehow uncomfortable about "baby Jesus".

Upon analysis, I think my discomfort is because it seems fine for adults to enjoy "Let's pretend" with children and even with each other in connection with holidays, but Christians separate the myth of Jesus from all the rest, and deny that the "Jesus story" is as much a fable as that of he elves, the North Pole, Frosty, and Rudolph.


So...I wondered how other atheists handle the Christmas season, in big ways and in little ways. 


I'm particularly curious about those of you who have young children.  Do you engage in any seasonal make believe with them?  Do you introduce them to any of the cultural symbols of the season?  If so, do you avoid the manger and wise men and star of Bethlehem?

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Want some snow, want some snow, want some snow.  Jealous, jealous, jealous.  Pretty!

My son in the winter of 1978, aged 3....12' of snow that year, blocked all the house windows, but we lived further north then .....

All I can say is WOW,.

I have a dreadful time finding cards for friends in Australia and New Zealand...or even here in Southern California. 

Snow (or even a hard frost) here would ruin our avocados, which are about the only things I can afford to give as gifts these days.  We have a huge fuerte' tree that's as old and raggedy as I am, but everyone says the 'cados have more flavor than store-bought ones. 

Wish I could send you all some!

Your wish is as good as a present, Sk8eycat, thanks!

Wow Patricia!  I remember that winter!  We had snow like that too here in Northern Illinois!  I remember a family that was visiting us got trapped with us for a few days.  We had SO much fun!

Wow is the word!  

When I was young, I read of winters like that, both real and imagined, and wish I could experience one so I could make tunnels everywhere.  Thought it would be great fun!

There is also a sense of very fresh air, along with the peace & quiet outside.....impossible to get otherwise.

Oh yes, it would be quiet and peaceful.

As a kid they sent me out in the snow to play, and I thought it was great fun. Hell, I damn near froze to death! Today I do not like snow, period.

Spud, we used to spend HOURS outside with all the neighborhood kids making snow forts and tunnels, etc.  We had a really fun childhood outdoors with lots of kids around.  We also ran around the yard all summer playing tag, doing gymnastics, etc.  No computers, nothing on t.v., etc. in the 70's!

Mindy, in St. Anthony Idaho we got quite a bit of snow and build snowmen, forts, and had a lot of snowball fights.  One year dad helped us build an enormous snowman with a cave inside.  Loved it!

In the summer we climbed trees, played by the river with frogs, snakes, and everything else we could find.


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