Santatheology

GRANDMA: Oh, look, here's another one: "To Delaney, from Santa!"

DELANEY (5): EEEEEE, hee hee hee! (*rustle rustle*) Omigosh, new PJs!! With puppy dogs!!

GRANDMA: Now, if they don't fit, we can exchange them. I have the receipt.

DELANEY, with accusing eyebrows: What do you mean, you have the receipt? How could you have the receipt?

GRANDMA: Oh, I mean . . . well, Santa leaves the receipts with the gifts.

DELANEY, eyebrows still deployed: Uh huh.

CONNOR (11): Laney, be careful. If you don't believe in Santa even for one minute, you'll get coal in your stocking.

DELANEY: I don't think so.

CONNOR: Well, you better not doubt him anyway, just in case it's true!

DELANEY: I think Santa would care more that I was good than if I believe in him.

It was the whole history of religious discourse in 15 seconds. Reread it, changing "Santa" to "God" and "get coal in your stocking" to "burn in

Hell." For the finishing touch, replace Connor with Blaise Pascal and Delaney with Voltaire.

—Dale McGowan, from the blog The Meming of Life nize the maturing of a daughter who has begun menstruation, while some parents mark the fifteenth or sixteenth birthday as significant.

Creating a rite of passage doesn't have to be a big deal—just a meaningful one! All that is required is some kind of public or private recognition of an important event in your child's life. You won't be disappointed by your child's reaction to a rite of passage if you just put some kind of effort into making it personal to them. A personal statement of appreciation is always a keepsake for your child. A handmade gift shows how much care and thought you have put into the celebration. Making a child's favorite meal and saying a few words is making a family dinner a simple rite of passage! It is the recognition of the accomplishment and not the gift that is important.

This chapter will help you to navigate some situations that might come up around holidays and celebrations within our religiously diverse society and, perhaps, family. It will give resources for nonreligious families to create your own meaningful rituals, celebrations, and holidays and suggest activities that could create fun and memories for nonreligious families. Remember that religious families do not have the corner on family values and family fun. Non-religious families have many opportunities to make special times with special meanings for their families!

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