What’s it like being an atheist over the festive period?

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Joe Roberts for Metro.co.uk

What's it like being an atheist over the festive period?
It’s a minefield out there (Picture: MMUFFIN for Metro.co.uk)

Being an atheist over the festive period can be awkward to say the least.

For many of those who don’t believe in a god, it’s just a time to reconnect with their family and feast on an abundance of food.

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But for some atheists, it can be a struggle to negotiate the festivities when you’re not entirely sure what there is to celebrate.

In a group of some 10,000 atheists on Facebook, it isn’t hard to get people talking about their experiences as atheists over this time of year.

Joe Eells said the Christmas season for him is just a chance to get together with family and friends.

What's it like being an atheist over the festive period?
‘We’re part of the culture like everyone else’ (Picture: Myles Goode)

He added: ‘I think people assume that the holidays are something different for atheists than it is for Christians and Jews. In the US, anyway, it’s a festive time. We’re a part of the culture like everyone else.’

Lori Ann White admits to being quite conflicted over the festive period.

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She said: ‘I like Christmas like I like human beings – in small doses and in a highly personal context – family and friends.

‘I despise the consumerist crap but spend inordinate amounts of time looking for gifts that tell people I’ve really been thinking about them.

‘I hate that all the stores are now full of Christmas lights but I love Christmas lights and I’d leave my decorations up all year if I could. I love Christmas music, even the religious stuff, because it’s beautiful and humans created it and humans can be amazing creatures if we allow ourselves to be.

Andy and his son visiting a church (Illustration: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)
(Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

‘I love Christmas because the news actually covers people being nice to each other. I cry every year at the Grinch.’

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The ‘consumer centric season’, as Kathleen Adams puts it, always causes her some stress.

She said: ‘As an introvert as well as being irreligious, it sometimes causes me stress dealing with people and all the conflicting politically correct positions.

‘I do like the time off and time with family and friends, albeit somewhat forced as you don’t need a holiday to get together. Nonetheless, I try to make the best of it.

A scenery with a church
(Picture: Getty)

Tracy Duggan enjoys Christmas for the tradition and the sentimentality.

She said: ‘I truly treasure having my family and friends gather for dinner and share good times. I put up a tree, which I believe is more pagan than Christian, and get great pleasure listening to carols and watching Christmas comedies.

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‘For me, anything that can make people a little kinder and more thoughtful is fine by me.’

But for Temy Beal, he’s not shy in admitting his hatred for the holidays.

He said: ‘There are no words to convey the depth of my hating, loathing and otherwise detesting any and all ‘holidays’ whether religion related or not.’

And for Dana Everhart it’s just the ‘celebration of the winter solstice – Period.’

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