By Rachel Birdsell
There are people who wonder why I, as an atheist, celebrate Christmas and ask if I have a tree and give presents. In other words, they’re wondering if I celebrate Christmas like people who believe in god do. I usually tell them that I celebrate pretty much like they do, and that I enjoy the time with family and the spirit of peace and goodwill. But this year I’ve decided to come clean. I want to be the first atheist to divulge to the world what atheists actually do to celebrate on Dec. 25.
The atheist Christmas, or as we like to call it Atheistmas, starts on Dec. 21 and culminates on the 25th. Family and friends gather at 10:32 on the night of the 21st for our annual Atheistmas weasel catching. The first person to catch the weasel gets to be the Heathen King or Queen for the entirety of Atheistmas. The king or queen is hand fed by gnomes that we harvested earlier in the year, and given special honors by last year’s king or queen. Once the weasel is captured we put a Santa Claus hat on it and set it free to spread the joy of Atheistmas to other woodland creatures.
The next two nights are filled with dancing, drunkenness and general debauchery. Should any of us need bail money, we take it from the funds we’ve raised by selling our soul to the highest bidder. The Annual Atheist Soul Selling Extravaganza is another of our celebrations that is truly a magical time.
On Atheistmas Eve we tone things down a bit and have a quiet evening at home playing Scrabble and challenging every word Uncle Bud puts down because he’s prone to cheating. It is often thought that this is the night that atheists sacrifice a blond haired, blue eyed baby, which is utter rubbish. We don’t sacrifice anything until the first day of spring, and we don’t care about eye and hair color.
On the big day we begin it by giving gifts that we’ve filched from souvenir shops across America. You might get a pair of red, white and blue flag socks from Niagara Falls, or a depiction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night made entirely of seashells from Florida. After the gifts have been given, we gather around the tree we’ve fashioned from a lightning rod and bailing wire, and the Atheistmas King tells the story of how we came to be born atheists. After the storytelling, we carry the King out around the house three times counterclockwise to ensure the upcoming year will be prosperous. Then we sit down to enjoy a feast of root vegetables, bouillabaisse and a wild boar that last year’s king grappled with to the death. Some years the boar wins. We don’t eat the king, though.
So there you have it, world. The truth about how we depraved souls celebrate this time of year. So Merry Atheistmas! May your weasel be slow and your boar enormous.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org