As an atheist, what does Christmas mean to me?

It’s the end of Christmas day for me. I’m winding down by spending some time on my own but I don’t really want to play any games so I thought I’d write this, which is an idea I’ve had in my head for a while but every attempt has come off as far too aggressively atheist.

Well, quite predictably, Christmas is a time for giving and spending time with family, but that’s what you expect me to say. What you don’t expect me to say is that I have managed to avoid watching almost any Christmas themed TV and have completely avoided radio. In fact, my heavy metal phase has seen a resurgence in the recent weeks with only Arctic Monkeys competing with it in terms of genre. As a result I have never felt more Christmas-y in my life, and it’s been a lot of fun.

I find myself blankly unexcited by the things other people present to me as opportunities and focus more on what me, my friends and my family are doing. I don’t want to sit back on Christmas day and watch the shit-storm of gutter television they present to you. There were a couple of comedy things that might have been fun but I’m too far gone to care at this point. Most of the day, on the main 5 channels at least, has been a choice between children’s films, repeats, “family entertainment” which focuses far too much on being for the family and far too little on being entertaining and “Christmas Specials,” which put me right out of the Christmas spirit.

What did I do today? Well, when I got up I helped my dad cook breakfast and then we went to visit my uncle and his family, bringing my grandmother with us. That took us up until noon and then we came back to our house and unwrapped our presents. We played with them until mid afternoon and then had dinner, which my dad had expertly prepared. After that there were a few hours where we all sat and relaxed and were in our own worlds yet still in each others’ company, and then we watched films and ate more food. Not a single thing has been provided by someone else, and I find myself enjoying Christmas all the more for it. It’s worth mentioning that the films we watched were American Beauty and Ex Machina, both films that deserve a couple of posts to dissect.

What does tomorrow hold in store? Well, it’s work for me. I have a tonne of work for my university course and I feel up to it. To be honest, all I want to do is listen to loud music and work hard, which is a good thing to go into a year wanting to do. Do I think Christmas helped this? Not really. Every year in recent memory Christmas has been a time of work for January exams. It’s rather cruel really, but much less cruel than having all your exams during a month a half during summer. Exams that are built up as Earth-shattering should you fail.

But I digress. Christmas, to me, is doing things for yourself and for your family and not buying into the pre-package deals that society shoves down your throat from the end of October to the beginning of January. It is also worth saying that I especially try to avoid anything to do with religion during the festive period. There’s also that dodgy business of how, when Christmas became an incredibly popular thing to celebrate, other such festivals like Hanukkah and Ramadan became more popular and seemed to rise in importance. It means that Christmas isn’t just a commercialised festival for Christians, but for all religions! Including atheists.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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