Religion

Humanists celebrate the holiday season, too

It’s the holiday season and the big question for Humanists is what holiday if any, should we celebrate?

Christmas is obviously the big elephant in the middle of room. But there are other options to choose from. We like a good party as much as the next person. We just want to make sure that we celebrate something that is meaningful to us as individuals.

We could and probably should celebrate the official Humanist holiday, HumanLight. But most Humanists don’t.

Our community groups do host HumanLight dinners, but it hasn’t caught on yet with individual families because, and I’m just being honest here, it isn’t as much fun as Christmas.

Kwanzaa is a good option, and it was even invented by a Humanist. But it does take a 7-day commitment, which is a bit much.

Many Humanists choose to celebrate the solstice because it’s a great way to mark the season and to celebrate human knowledge via astronomy and science at the same time. And then there are those who choose to celebrate Festivus just because they can.

Most Humanists choose to celebrate the holiday they grew up with. For Jewish Humanists, that means Hanukkah. For most of us that means celebrating some form of Christmas.

Because I like a good party and I also enjoy learning new things, my family celebrates a sort of hybrid holiday that incorporates elements from all the holidays we have ever heard about. I like to think of it as a winter celebration of winter celebrations. It has been a lot of fun to learn about different cultures, religions and traditions as we celebrate the season. In our house we have decorations for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and Saturnalia ,as well as a minimalist tree that can double as a Festivus pole. If I could find some Divali decorations I would totally put them up.

Regardless of what holiday you prefer, this season of good cheer is an excellent time to reflect back on the year that was and to think about our hopes, dreams and desires for the future. It is a time for us to reconnect with family and friends who are dear to us and to let them know how much we love them. Most importantly, now is the time for us to recommit to the shared dream of humanity -- peace on earth and goodwill towards all.

Whatever holiday your family chooses to celebrate, my hope is that it is happy and that you and yours are healthy and well. All I ask is that you try to spread a little good will and good cheer along the way because there simply isn’t enough of that in the world.

Jennifer Hancock is a writer, speaker, and Humanist. For more information, visit http://www.jen-hancock.com.

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