Friday, December 21, 2012

Since I mentioned The Atheist's Guide to Christmas I thought I'd post a few excerpts. I randomly chose two pieces I particularly liked.

from "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas" by Sian Berry
     "Which brings me to Christmas - a time of year with plenty of communications mantraps for both greens and atheists. these days, it's a Christian holiday in name only for most of us, and most believers would probably agree it's gotten well beyond everyone's control.
     What started as a few days of festivities now lasts about nine weeks and seems to involve a quarter of a million different acts of marking the occasion. And it's impossible not to take part because everything to do with the Christmas season, no matter how newly invented, becomes instantly "traditional"...
     And there I go, moaning like scrooge. But, believe it or not, I do enjoy a lot of things about Christmas...At its simplest and most secular - as a family get-together to mark the end of the year - Christmas can be a joy... I would love to be able to reclaim this essential midwinter break from religions on one side and from commercial interests who have turned it into a festival of waste on the other, but it's very hard to do this without sounding like you want to spoil everyone's fun."

from "How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Christmas" by Mitch Benn
     "What it all comes down to is a question: what is Christmas? And the answer - for all of us, believer or otherwise - is that Christmas is whatever you want it to be.
     You see, Christmas, like all living things, is evolving. It's been through many phases and guises and it'll go through many more. Given that the 'eat drink, and be merry' aspect of Christmas predates the 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' bit by a considerable margin, and could even be said to take precedence over it, what then is the 'true' meaning?
     The answer, again, is whichever you prefer. Those of you who wish to restrict your participation in Christmas to reverent, even solemn observances of the rites and customs pertaining to the day in your particular faith, knock yourself out. Those of us who choose to celebrate Christmas in the traditional, pre-Christian manner (at least as it manifests itself in the modern era - basically eating forty mince pies and then slipping into unconsciousness on the sofa) may do so with a clear conscience. Spiritually, anyway. Nutritionally, that's another matter."

There are over 40 pieces, altogether. While poking around the internet to see if there were any pieces of the book that could be accessed free online (I struck out, sorry) I discovered that Wikipedia has an entry on the book.

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