When I started this blog, a great many of my posts came from questions asked by readers. It's kind of fun to get back to that sort of blogging every now-and-then. These are some that have been filling my "save" box.
Possummomma, Have you ever thought about writing a book about your life? - Kelly Powalski, Bryn Mar, Ca.
I would love to write a book. I've toyed with expanding this blog into book form. I think there's a market for people curious about how to parent as an atheist. I even have some of my entries drafted for book format, but when Parenting Beyond Belief came out, I just stuck it on the back burner. Maybe I should take this time that I have off and see if I can figure out how the book business works (publishing, etc.,.). If any of you have tips or connections, and you want to share them, I would definitely be appreciative. E-mail me, if you would! As for the book being autobiographical: that could be potentially problematic as I didn't have the happiest of childhoods. It wasn't horrible (compared to some I've heard of), but my immediate family went through some pretty difficult times. I'm not sure if I could tell my story without divulging some details that might make members of my family look bad.
Have you thought about hosting a meet-up for locals? - TJ, Tehachapi, Ca.
I've hosted a few gatherings for atheists in the Bakersfield area. I'm hoping to get that started again. I'll be sure to e-mail you if/when we get another meeting together. I'm also not opposed to lunch/coffee with people when we travel. I love meeting blog readers!
My husband and I have two kids and we just became atheists. How do we do Christmas? - Shauna, Rosebud, MT.
HEY!!! Rosebud, MT!! My first college dorm mate was from Rosebud. If you know a Darla, tell her I said "hi!" As for how you "do Christmas"... I don't think there's a single answer that would be appropriate. It really depends on how you've celebrated in the past and how tied into religion those activities were. Obviously, if you were a hard core church goer, you'll probably not go to church...although, don't rule this out as an activity. Part of raising a well-rounded child, I think, is allowing them to experience other cultures/religions. My older kids are going to go to church for a Christmas service with our old nanny. They wanted to. I'm not threatened by it. So, why not? :) If church wasn't a part of your Christmas activities, then you probably won't change your plans all that much. I think you can circumvent a lot of the "Jesus is the reason for the season" stuff if you investigate the pagan and cultural aspects of the holiday. Get the kids (depending on their ages) into crafts that might represent the winter holidays in other countries. Celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or St. Nick's Day. To me, the holiday season should be about enjoying your family and spending some time focused on childhood wonder and positive experiences. How you do that is entirely up to you and your family. Part of the great tradition of atheism, in my opinion, is the freedom to do any number of things...let me know how YOU celebrated the time. I can't wait to hear what you did.
We generally observe the following schedule (loosely):
Annual picture for our December Newsletter. The kids also spend some time writing their articles.
Thanksgiving with family.
Day after Thanksgiving, we decorate the house; put up the tree, start planning our craft activities that we want to do.
Make cookies for neighbors and family - with plenty of reserves for our own enjoyment.
Make puppy chow. - If someone reminds me, I'll post the recipe in a few weeks. Maybe I'll take pictures of how it's made. :)
Decorate paint cans with paper, ribbons, stamps, stickers, and whatever else the kids want to use. We fill these with goodies and treats for neighbors.
Hand out the goodies and treats by paying a visit.
We usually end up celebrating Hanukkah with our friends who are Jewish. Last year, we made them a dreidel board. They made potato latkes and traditional faire. It was a blast.
Shop and craft our hearts out.
Plan our charitable activity. Last year, each child picked three books that they wanted to wrap for kids at a local shelter.
Christmas eve = reindeer food. *(I normally don't lie to kids, but...my kids have always been fascinated by the folklore of Santa and Rudolph. We get around "lying" by downplaying the man in the red suit and playing-up the act of giving. But, the reindeer food is something that the older two are really excited about doing with the little ones. Grace loved it last year. I'll get pics and recipes out when we do it.)
Christmas eve = our kids get matching pajamas (which is a chore when you have a 3 year old and a going-on-13 year old) and we take a "Dec. 24th" pic of the kids in bed, in matching Jams.
My husband's family has always celebrated on 12/24, so we let the kids open up all of DH's family's gifts.
Christmas - a bacchanalia of gift giving and receiving.
New Year's Eve - each child writes a letter (or, in Owen and Grace's case, dictate a letter) to themselves for the following year. This letter covers what their height, weight, and "favorite things" are on 12/31. When they're done, we put the current letter in their stockings, to be tucked away until the next year. We open the previous year's letter at 11:50pm on 12/31. It's a cool tradition. They get to see just how much they've grown and changed in a year. After they read them, I tuck them away in their baby books.
Ok... I've got a scratchy throat, so I think I should hit the hay.