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?
It even works here in Europe!
That's about what we have right now in Northern Illinois. I'm done with it! Now it's super cold!
That's about 130 miles straight south of my family's farm in NE Missouri... that photo could have been in my home town! Too much for me! I'm not that tough any more.
I remember my parents putting oranges in our stockings. They were a treat when I was young.
I don't suppose anyone does that anymore, although with prices of food going up like it has been, the day may come when oranges are a treat again.
Mandarins are a treat & a solstice must! I used to add them to the kids stockings, as well as a bowlful on the hearth.
We had large white stretchy stockings...I guess they were old-fashioned nurse's stockings. My parents filled them with things like dime-store toys, penny candies, walnuts and pecans in the shell, and at least one big apple...Rome Beauty, probably. Oranges aren't much of a treat around here...we had (and still have) a tree.
I am so far in debt that the only "gifts" I can give friends who have helped me during the year are avocados...again, off our tree.
My surprise from the city water & power office yesterday was...they shut off our electricity. I spent the entire afternoon going from one assistance office to another to get it turned back on. (at least they left the water on. *whew!* ) I still have to go to at least one more place by next week to get permanent assistance with the utilities. How embarrassing!
My Social Insecurity cost of living "raise" for next year is a whopping $17. I think I'll bitch-slap the next person who calls people in my situation "parasites." I worked for that money!
We had large stockings also. Don't remember what kind, but I remember in later years, mom made large highly decorated stockings for everyone.
Sorry about your troubles with the power company. They sound worse than the ones in this conservative state.
sk8eycat, I am so very sorry to learn of your electricity being turned off. What a bummer of "treat" from your local power company. I don't think they are allowed to turn off the water, for public health reasons. I could be out of date on that.
I can't think of a finer gift than avocados! They taste so good and I assume ones picked off the tree have fresher flavor and texture.
I assume you have talked to your representatives in Congress; they need your story to help them fight for your benefit. If your federal elected officials agree with your needs, he/she will happily collect your story. If they oppose you, then you can work like the dickens to get the person replaced. That is the only power a citizen has in such cases and so use that power. Coalescing with like-minded people will give your voice more power. And, the number of people falling victim to low incomes grows each day.
California is in such poor financial straights, it will take a literal miracle to get help from them because the federal budget has been cut so far back for working people. There simply has to be more taxes paid by wealthy. I listened to a tape last night of an economist, Thomas Sowell, who favors austerity for working people and more tax brakes for wealthy.
“I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.”
― Thomas Sowell, Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays
Sowell thinks wealth is created by a particular class of people, and not the workers who produce and serve in their industries. The Walmarts of the nation pay non-living wages and feel justified in doing so. Sowell and Waltons gain benefit from tax dollars being spent on roads, bridges, infrastructure, and don't pay their fair share in taxes.
We are seeing more closures of libraries, reductions in fire and police, that are only the tip of the iceburg.
Tell your story, tell it loudly, tell it often. it needs to be heard.
Thomas Sowell's syndicated column used to run in one of the Los Angeles papers. So many readers complained about his "hit the middle class hard" attitude that they finally dropped him. I don't understand him at all; his ancestors worked their fingers to the bones picking other people's cotton, etc. for little or no pay, and he still doesn't GET it!.
I am also angry that when I was working (in five different offices for 40+ years), I always got paid less than the men who were doing exactly the same tasks I was, so now I'm getting less Social Security than they are. Each office was a small bookkeeping practice; no medical insurance, and no pension plans...
Grrrrrrr. I often wished I had fangs. I still do. Hisssssssssssssssssssss!
BBut I just watched "Lets Dance," and I feel a lot better! Left you a message in "Hang With Friends."
Think oreo cookie, sk8eycat; he's dark outside and white inside.
His ancestors served crueler masters than those he now serves.