How do you deal with family and friends during the holidays, if you have absolutely no interest in participating in the season, (for your own, personal reasons), but they are all very into it? Also, how do you address the pressure to set your reasons aside and “just enjoy it”, or whatever variation gets thrown at you?
I don't GAS what the reasoning behind it is. Religious or not, getting together with family and enjoying life and relationships is always a good thing. People are important to me regardless of who they are or what they believe. If you don't like it don't participate. But having family and friends and being part of everyone's life regardless of beliefs can complete a persons being.
I guess you could just eliminate the parts you don't like about it and enjoy what you can. As a non-believer, I can enjoy the parts of religious traditions that I don't take seriously and celebrate the aspects that delight me. Christmas delights on many levels, and I have no problem acknowledging the nativity story that religious members of my family feel obliged to attach to it. I can appreciate the story as a work of fiction and celebrate being with people I love.
I don't do Christmas. Actually, my son and I quit celebrating anything once we moved away from my parents because he wasn't interested. I offered. As far as presents went, I only bought things that I would have bought anyway when my parents were around. I refused to spend money on things he didn't need just because of a random date on the calendar.
I don't celebrate 'Christmas'. The name itself is empty and meaningless. Well, almost (I'll share at closing).
I celebrate just having family around and the laughter and catching up. I celebrate that my family of origin was too dysfunctional for me to find any enjoyment as a kid, and that I now have family that I have adopted and gathered with to celebrate together. Not for religious meaning, because there is none. Just to feel good and enjoy each others company. And while it's true that we should do that all year long, busy schedules don't always get freed up until the holidays, so it is what it is. For me, this is the real 'Thanksgiving'.
In closing: my last name is 'Christmas'. My birthday is 12/21. I take great pride in bursting bubbles when someone says "You almost share a birthday with someone special!" by replying "I know! Justin Trudeau, Annie Lennox, and Humphrey Bogart are great people!"
Family isn't reason I'm uninterested in christmas. It's dealing with the public all these years. Since, I work in retail. The holiday seems bring how nasty and uncaring some assholes can be. These people take it out people who work at gas stations. Not giving a thought about the feeling about the person behind the counter trying to wait on them. So, I wish I could avoid it all together.
My family, even the ones who profess to be Christian's, celebrate Christmas secularly. For various reason, I still don't like to celebrate with them so I usually use work as an excuse since they all grew up/are poor and understand that work and paying bills comes before everything.
I just go along with it, the getting together part was always worth it. This year, my older daughter has driven the shift from gift giving to vacation of sorts, and we are all getting together in LA where she and her fiance live. His family is coming from Puerto Rico, so it will be nice. And I will have a couple of days to tool around Los Angeles to see some childhood haunts.
The nicest thing about Xmas, is that the Solstice has already occurred, so once it's over, the days start getting longer and it's closer to nicer weather. A worthy celebration!
Most of my friends have the same or similiar beliefs, the Holiday season is no issue for me, we do celebrate New Year's. No pressure from anybody, never has been really, I avoid talking about my beliefs in public, respect other views, I view it as they are victims of their indoctrination into whatever in early life. Have no interest in the changing the world, I consider this a waste of time. I have many things to do and projects I am working on. From I can see this is a very unhappy world, religion and religious conflicts play a large part in making it this way. Bad politics runs a close second. Perfer to enjoy life, reading, writing, learning on a continual bases. The world is fascinating place if you let yourself get away from the imaginenary construct none as culture. Been a professional observer all my life, love it, wouldn't change a thing
At our ages (me 62 and mom at 85); there isn't anything that we really need. We split the cost of buying ourselves a 65" smart TV - we may have dinner with my kid brother and his wife; otherwise, I will have the entire week off from regular job but will be working from home on feline sanctuary stuff I volunteer for and my web postings for friends in Michigan who own their own candle shop. Other than that, mom and I, with my cats, will be kicking back, munching, drinking at home (spirits and non-spirits) and just relaxing.
I enjoy my family. I enjoy getting together with them -- with all the drama and childish conflicts that still exist. I love them very much -- but we are scattered to the 4 winds so do not always get together on holidays as often as I would like. I do not care what the holiday is -- I don't have to participate in religious practices. I sit silently while they pray (I will hold hands). I think about all the life that has been shed so we can eat heartily and give thanks for those lives or remember the Native Americans or the ancient goddess Oeastre (goddess of the morning) or whatever.
What additionally offends me with the over the top madness around now it how it’s stolen my ability to love the season, at least around people..
Back in the days of parenting, it was painful watching my kids hauled into the madness. In their early days, I went, where it was equally painful setting amid an orgy of commercialism. But, we were close, so I was able to explain my concerns.
It’s nice if you can focus on work, but near impossible to avoid the madness there. I’ve retreated to nature, a homestead in the deep woods of Oregon made that easy. Even our local Atheist organization attempted to make the Winter Solstice their commercial equivalent/ alternative to the ‘Mass’ a few days later. So I'd skipped that..
It’s a good thing I can do alone, but many can’t. And it’s not that being alone during the dark cold days of winter are ‘what I want,’ but unfortunately, it’s what society has forced on me. The sadness I feel is the realization I’ve even less in common with ‘them’ than I already knew and yes, that made me laugh ~
You’re not alone with regard to folks sickened by this shit … but when it comes to those with the gumption and integrity to stand up to - or avoid it altogether - yet are willing to seek others feeling the same ...good fuckin luck