Happy winter solstice! This year winter solstice falls on December 21. It is the shortest day of the year, the longest night. Most ancient cultures would have a celebration at this time of year. It makes sense, a needed distraction from the cold dark days. It gives us something to look forward to, as the days will now be getting longer.
The members of our immediate family are self-proclaimed atheists. It sounds pagan or anti religion but really all it means is that we do not believe in a god. We do not go to a church or a temple; we do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. We do believe in family and being good to each other and being good to our friends. We donate to several charities. We celebrate on the solstice so that we will have a family tradition. It is a day to spend together and eat good food and exchange a few gifts.
Unfortunately and surprisingly we have gotten some negative feedback about our beliefs. It has caused me to dread this time of year. Everyone assumes that you celebrate something and when you don’t it can be quite confusing. My kids bear the brunt of it. “Excited about Santa?” the guy at the video store asks. My daughter replies, “we don’t celebrate Christmas.” “Happy Hanukkah then”, he cheerfully perseveres. “Nope” she says not missing a beat. My son who is 5 says, “Santa is not real…” I blush and swipe my card and shuffle out of the store hoping that no other child has overheard.
I worry that they will regret not having a religion and a group to identify with. I worry that they will not appreciate being in the minority – and by choice. So far they seem to take it in stride, just another weird mom thing. Honestly, they don’t really seem to care at all – as long as the Solstice gifts keep coming.