The holidays can really suck. Between family drama, financial stress, winter weather, and trying to live up to everyone's expectations, they can be anything but "happy." They can be even more difficult to navigate if you don't believe in God. Add children to the mix, even the biggest Grinches might want to (or feel forced to) create some holiday cheer for their little ones. So, how do atheist parents survive the winter holidays?
It's not easy. Before having kids the holidays pretty much meant a flight home, pie, and wine. Sure, there was a little bit of family drama, the obligatory holiday gift exchange (which everyone secretly hates), Christmas parties, and avoiding the mall for a solid month, but honestly the most annoying part about Christmas was the constant stream of carols at the grocery store and on the radio.
Suddenly people want to take your secular kids to church and buy them 100 toys they won't use longer than a day. Your kids either believe in Santa, forcing you to play make-believe for a month, or are scared to sit on his lap, which makes grandma upset when she can't get a good picture. Half of their Christmas wish list is likely to be unaffordable, which makes Santa look like a cheap you-know-what, and makes you feel like a bad mom. Plus, there's always the added bonus that any holiday traveling is made seriously stressful by the addition of kids. Just when you think you are past the worst of it, your child comes home from school and asks you to tell them about Jesus. Parenting is hard.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make the holidays as jolly as possible, without losing sight of who you are and what you believe.