A merry god-free christmas to you all!

Yes! This atheist family committed atrocities in preparation for the holiday. Here’s the gang undermining the true meaning of Christmas by decorating a tree while experiencing a complete absence of any sense of the sacred.


That’s Skatje in the coat and hat (it really isn’t that cold in here, unless it’s the chill from our icy hearts), Alaric adjusting the stand (or, perhaps, bowing to the darkness), and Connlann looking fairly normal, although of course his wicked soul does not appear in a photograph.

That’s not an angel on top; it’s a white Father Christmas figure that I think looks a bit like Gandalf, so it’s OK.

Now look at this: some of our friends sent over Cephalopodmas cookies! I’ve already eaten the one on top (it was Cthulhicious!), and I’ve been trying to prevent the kids from devouring the others. The rest have to be left by the fireplace as an offering to the Old Ones — they will be so thrilled when they get up in the morning and discover they’ve all disappeared, slurped up by the Great Tentacle.*


Many thanks to the Glasruds for indulging our quaint religious beliefs.

Tomorrow we’ll be doing other traditional godless activities: getting up early to open presents around the tree, cooking a feast for friends and families, consuming large quantities of turkey and cranberry sauce and lefse, and just generally having a good time.

Oh, and if you’re interested in some good Christmas music, try these ominous carols. Translating them into a minor key does wonders for them.

*Sacrilege! I just checked the platter, and somebody has consumed many of them. I wonder which one will be eaten last?


  1. goddogtired says

    Merry Xmas!
    In Japan, we have all the fun of Xmas, though missing the American family & friends, but none of the pestiferous Xian saccharine blathering is there to be avoided.
    A bit of festive takoyaki in your honor, PZM. And remember – take the Christ out of Xmas!

  2. says

    What! No lutefisk? (I’d sooner eat haggis.)

    Whiny Festivus to you all.

    Major Naomi (CO)*
    *Conscientious Objector in the War on Xmas…

  3. says

    Season’s Greetings!

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that the United States is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

    By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

    Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.

  4. Despard says

    j a higginbotham, that’s beautiful. *steals*

    Merry Christmas PZ, have a a fantastic day tomorrow.

  5. says

    Didn’t even bother with the tree this year. First, losing Grandma P on Christmas day last year put a serious damper on this year.

    Second, I don’t know if I’ll have a job come January. This is a very unsettling time of year for me, being a government employee and all.

  6. quork says

    Another view of Christmas

    JILL Singer writes: I love Christmas. Some might think I have no right to because I am an atheist. But for countless millions of non-believers across the world, today is still a very special day.
    To we heathens, infidels, barbarians (call us what you like), today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate things such as family, peace and goodwill to others, the essential spirit of Christmas. It’s just that we don’t believe in or feel the need to celebrate the supernatural.
    It is quite a delicious irony that this Christmas, one of the most popular choices of gifts happens to be Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion. In my view, it constitutes a dazzling and timely demolition job on religion.

  7. says

    Sorry for your loss, Tony P.

    Best wishes to PZ and family and everyone, and I offer a special Christmas poem along with visions of shimmy plums that may finally get me banned (or at least blocked) at UD. ;-)

  8. Linda says

    Best wishes and a very merry, very happy, and very peaceful entirely secular Christmas to you and your family, PZ.

  9. Paul says

    Well from this side of the international date line I can tell you that Christmas was pretty good so far. The presents were fine, the bubbly was good and the weather was more topsy-turvy than what even Quayle could have hoped for.

    Highlights so far have been a documentary about a forensic examination of the remains of Saint Nicholas and a Little Britain talking coffee mug..

  10. j a higginbotham says

    Despard, you can’t steal from me; it is from some Michigan Law Center (the link perhaps obscure since I stuck it in the URL)

  11. says

    Your godless celebration looks very festive… although I am not sure if it is in keeping with the will of Landru. No matter. You will be absorbed into the body.

    May you and your family enjoy good health and good fortune in the coming year. May you be well, happy, and peaceful.

  12. Kimbits says

    I’ll happily jump on the Ia Ia Cthulhumas! bandwagon. :D

    If you’re not familiar you should look into A Very Scary Solstice, a Cthulhumas album, which such classics as It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fishmen, Freddy the Red-Brained Mi-Go, Carol of the Old Ones, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth. My house shall be filled with the festive tunes tomorrow. :D

  13. Dale says

    For me the true meaning of Christmas has always been about catching up with family for a breakfast/brunch outdoors in Australia’s summer (although this year after massive bushfires around Victoria and smoke filled skies for days on end we end up with 16C and rain!).

    I’ve never had my Christmas polluted by religion – such a nice feeling :-)

  14. Pattanowski says

    Of course, getting a potted tree that one can plant later is a pretty nice way to go. We did not do that this year either; hard to be perfect all the time. Our tree will be thrown in our pond for habitat though, and it’s free of the green spraypaint that folks ’round here just love to spray on them Crissmass trees!

  15. Mnemosyne says

    Our kitten has been conducting his own personal War on Christmas, which is why our (plastic) tree has bent branches and oddly placed lights — the ones that work, that is. He finds the day to be incomplete unless he succeeds in knocking the tree over at least once.

  16. Lynn says

    Happy family/fun/music time to you, PZ, and your little tentacled wonders as well.

    The tree, of course, isn’t a truly religious symbol. Well, it’s a *pagan* symbol, which makes it sort of religious. But it certainly isn’t a Christian symbol.

    I love this season, as it encompasses not only the-time-of-many-winter-solstice-holidays but *also* my birthday.

    I spent my birthday happily celebrating the one-year anniversary of the public appearance of the Dover decision. What a lovely birthday present that was last year! How lovely of Judge Jones to offer it on the 20th LOL!

    Happiness and beautiful music to all!


  17. hoody says

    B cnsstnt, y cllss dngbt. Gv p clbrtng th hldys. (th wrd bng vrnt n “hly dy”). Jst kp “wrkng”, nd hvng yr grd ssstnts hrd t wrk dsmvwlng yr crtcs.

    Mrry Chrstms!!!!

  18. Azkyroth says

    Why do I have this sudden urge to write a Christmas novel focusing on a bitter, irrational, hateful overgrown toddler named Hoody being visited by four spirits who take turns beating the stupid out of him?

  19. Azkyroth says

    PS: My toddler has informed me that she finds the comparison above deeply offensive; hence I withdraw it.

  20. says

    Felix Dies Nativitatis MMVI

    Happy and Merry Generic & Commercialised Pagan Festival :-D

    Christmas has so little to do with Jesus or Christianity nowadays. Especially in the UK. Its about gifts and decorating your house and dumbass songs that are the same everyear. Just call it Happy Gifts Day and get it over with.

  21. Joshua says

    I enjoy the idea of Cthulhumas, of course, but personally I’ve declared Dec 25 to be Bogart Day. It’s his actual birthday, after all. So…

    Here’s looking at you, Baby Jesus.

  22. Bob O'H says

    Bogart? Pah! Being a patriotic English scientist, I wish you all a suitably atteactive Newtonmass!


  23. craig says

    I was always fine with Christmas even being an atheist until this year – the O’Reilly crap War on Christmas bull has gone too far, with all these protest groups and people wearing protest t-shirts and boycotting stores if someone happens to say “Happy Holidays,” etc. Its gone past just tv blowhards and now I’m hearing people around town pressing the issue, as if it actually were an issue. I’ve had enough. They’ve ruined Christmas for me – all that hate. Makes it feel like attending a KKK cross burning or something.

  24. Desert Donkey says

    Please take a moment to pay homage to the Celestial Teapot, The Pink Unicorn and of course the Flying Spaghetti Monster on this special day.


    Russell’s teapot, sometimes called the Celestial Teapot, was an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, to refute the idea that the burden of proof lies upon the sceptic to disprove unfalsifiable claims of religions. In an article entitled “Is There a God?,” commissioned (but never published) by Illustrated magazine in 1952, Russell said the following:

    If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

    In his book A Devil’s Chaplain, Richard Dawkins developed the teapot theme a little further:

    The reason organized religion merits outright hostility is that, unlike belief in Russell’s teapot, religion is powerful, influential, tax-exempt and systematically passed on to children too young to defend themselves. Children are not compelled to spend their formative years memorizing loony books about teapots. Government-subsidized schools don’t exclude children whose parents prefer the wrong shape of teapot. Teapot-believers don’t stone teapot-unbelievers, teapot-apostates, teapot-heretics and teapot-blasphemers to death. Mothers don’t warn their sons off marrying teapot-shiksas whose parents believe in three teapots rather than one. People who put the milk in first don’t kneecap those who put the tea in first.

    Similar concepts to Russell’s teapot are the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  25. says

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Merry Cephalopodmas :).

    It’s funny, I’m an atheist, and this year I am actually celebrating Christmas more than I have in a long time (normally it’s just food, and maybe a gift or two). Tree is up, playing holiday music, and a few gifts that I can afford in this season of reduced hours at work.

    Anyway, I was going to mention the very scary solstice album from the HP Lovecraft Historical Sociery, but I was beaten to it – so I’ll just post the website where you can buy the cd (http://www.cthulhulives.org/toc.html). They have a new cd out as well! Cool. Here’s the link to the music page directly (http://www.cthulhulives.org/Solstice/index.html). I heartily recommend it for everyone

  26. MarkG says

    This is the first Christmas in my life that I’ve spent alone (except for the cats). By choice, I must add. Walking round town today was an odd experience. I couldn’t help thinking “hey, it’s just like a normal day”. Very liberating.

    Also, can we please stop mentioning Cthulhu. During my teens, I put together a pretty complete collection of Cthulhu novels, but a few years ago, in a mad clear-out, I gave them all away. The insanity! Now, every time an aspect of the mythos is mentioned, I feel deep regret. Funny thing is, I gave them all away (with many other books) to the local church, who were having a fete. I wonder if they profited from their sale, or whether they ‘disappeared’ them , so that their flock wouldn’t be corrupted? I’ll never know…

    Merry End-of-the-Year to you all!

  27. says

    The original Christmas festivities are far more pagan and bloodthirsty than you might imagine.

    For example, the presents under and baubles upon the tree come from Northern European tree worship, where they dragged their enemies to the favoured tree, then decapitated them, hanging the heads on the branches and slinging the bodies against the roots. The tree appreciated all of the blood-n-bone, growing larger and “more powerful” in answer to these sacrifices.

    Many of the other rituals involved human sacrifice etc, and then there were the “cleansing” aspects. For a light example, Mistletoe is a fertility rite, and the kiss really was a promise of, um, deeper involvement.

    Astarte’s rituals got fairly wild, but pretty much all of the collection focussed on wild partying and exchanges of gifts (for various reasons), so if people appear to be acting like heathens at Christmas, they’re simply following the scripts (with varying levels of competency).

    Just in case you’re wondering, Christmas has no origins in the birth of Christ, since December was too cold for sheperds to be out watching their sheep. The best guess for a birthday I’ve seen is 29 September, plus or minus a day or two. The December date was chosen for the winter solstice, and ceremonies prescribed for bringing the fading sun back to life. A Mass is a death ceremony, anyway.

    Much has been added to the record, for example, there was no donkey mentioned around Jesus’ birth (can you imagine riding one for tens of km, pregnant?) but there always is in stories. The 3 “wise men” were 3 pagan kings, named Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, probably Zoroastrians.

    And so on. There’s very little risk of finding Christ in Christmas anyway, making this “parody” kind of appropriate.

  28. says

    I don’t know about the decapitating your enemies part; but in the pagan ritual as reconstructed in the ’30s, the explanation was that people Back Then got slightly nervous as the sun appeared less and less, the days got shorter, the nights got colder, and the trees were barren of anything edible. At that time they dragged in a tree, set it up, and hung fruits on it. “See! This is what you’re supposed to be doing!” When the days got longer, there was a celebration. The two factors together made the pagan Yuletide, when the darkness began to recede and the trees were reminded of their duty to bear fruit. The baubles of today are supposed to represent the fruits of yesteryear. It’s a pretty story and makes sense. The pagan year, celebrating as it does the equinoxes, solstices, first fruits, early harvest, and late harvest, is emotionally satisfying. People were reluctaant to give up the mother goddess, which is why Mary is so wildly popular in some countries today. It all hangs together as a hypothesis.

    Merry Yule! And drop over to my blog for a very brief post (and picture) of a Maple Leafs Christmas.