As an atheist, I love decorating for the holidays with homemade dolls.
My great aunts and uncles lived together in a 10-bedroom, A-frame house on Lake Charlevoix, Michigan. Three sisters and their husbands, they were childless. They all worked in the insurance industry.
The three-story house had hidden passageways and rooms for the Underground Railroad. We kids loved playing hide-and-seek.
"The dolls are our children," they said. The men carved the doll faces and bodies, and made furniture. The women made clothes and accessories. Their dolls are in the Michigan State Children's Museum.
They always made two of each doll. One Whistler's Mother doll went to the president of France. It is in the Louvre Museum.
When I was five, my grandmother enrolled the four oldest girl cousins in the International Doll Club. Each Christmas, we received a doll from a different country, in native dress with a story, stamp and coin.
These dolls are 75 to 100 years old. I treasure them.
I do the Yule tree with secular ornaments. It's so not about Christianity at this point that I just go with it. In a couple of moves I lost a nice set of decorations. Years ago for reasons I didn't understand, Kmart had a Nativity for which you could buy Roman Legionairs. I understand the animals, and what I presume are wise men, but the legionairs were just odd. It also had a tent for the wise men. I bought the stuff that wasn't Nativity (no stable, Mary, Joseph, or Jesus) and had wise men, animals, and Roman Legionairs in a tent that I told everyone were my Saturnalia decorations.
I stopped decorating 25 yrs ago when I came out as an atheist. I felt it was being hypocritical to do so and continue funding corporations idea of the holiday. Mucho dinero dollars.
I do make gifts for the children in my family. Arugumi styled animals and babies wearing animal costumes. I call them "just for the heck of it" presents.
I also donate several of these toys to foster care programs, which makes me happy.
I do enjoy food served at Thanksgiving.
I love to decorate for any holiday! I enjoy a festive house no matter what season or reason. For my family christmas is about Santa Claus and family. It is a secular holiday, no nativity scenes have ever been displayed (or owned, for that matter). I have some lovely crystal trees, and I decorate with evergreen and holly on my mantel. I have a real christmas tree, with a Santa on top, and decorated with hand-tatted (it's similar to knitting, only tiny string, very intricate) snowflakes that Great Grandma made over the years. It's all about Santa and family, and looking welcoming and happy! And I can offer a holiday greeting of Merry christmas without feeling that I have broken an "atheist oath" - or whatever! It is what we make of it!
I decorate myself. And by that I mean I go shopping, put a turkey under one arm and a bottle of wine under the other, dangle some mandarin oranges from one hand and a package of cheese from the other, and have a hazelnut chocolate bar in my mouth. Cue the music. "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
As per request, here is a photo of the snowflakes made by great grandma Audrey (Audrey Larie, for whom I am partly named: Sandra Larie!). They were "tatted" - which is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops.
I decorate my christmas tree with snowflakes, and mostly they are GG Audrey's snowflakes, so they are extra special to me. At some point I will pass them on to my children and their spouses!
I loved Christmas trees as a child. The lights and the fragrance. This year I don't have a tree, but I have pine boughs, pine cones, and candles. I have solar light strings up all year on the porch, and in the garden and inside. I simmer orange peels and spices on the stove. My Christmas cactus is in bloom and there is a bank of poinsettias in the window. The sofa is layered in red patterned quilts and plaid blankets. Most of this stuff can stay through the entire winter.
I have been living on my own for 14 yrs. I am a single guy with no visitors. Which I can never figure out why people don't want to stop by. Needless to say, I don't see the need to decorate for any reason. Now if I had company that comes over on a regular basis, I might decorate for the hoildays.
Have not been wearing a dress since 64 years ago when my sister Kay played xian mom with me as her "baby sister" she collects dolls and still loves me despite my world famous Atheism since 1981. ...solstice conifer without alleged angelic ornaments for decades until my family cats got sick from pine needle ingestion