Happy Winter Solstice!
If you're a lifelong atheist and ardent secularist like myself and you get a little uptight around this time of year with all the insanity and focus on religion, then I've got a good link for you: The Four Horsemen, a round table discussion with Richard Dawkins. I'm watching it now and its effect is absolutely calming.
It's simply a video of four intelligent people sitting around a coffee table talking rationally about religion of all types, its fictitious nature and the general duplicity and hypocrisy that its adherents engage in. Suddenly I don't feel like I'm the only person who thinks this way and it's so nice.
Christmas is a particularly galling example actually... co-opting a pagan festival celebrating the start of longer days ahead with some nutty story about a virgin birth is just crazy! And yet it seems everyone accepts the new definition of what we're all celebrating without question. We really should start going back to celebrating Winter Solstice like our ancestors surely did for thousands of years - I for one am ecstatic the days will now start getting longer, I'm all for celebrating it with gifts and feasts, believe me! (Oh, this reminds me of that great Julia Sweeney talk at TED where she talks with the Mormons. Classic.)
Oh, and yes, Winter Solstice was a couple days ago, but I figured better late than never... and it was a good title for this post. Happy Holidays!