Eve of Christmas Eve
December 25, 2007
Neither my wife nor I are religious believers. My wife loves Christmas; for her it seems to epitomize domesticity; a well appointed house with a tastefully decorated tree is a work of art; and a very small group of compatible people gathered together in harmony with good food in beautiful surroundings represents the best of human interaction and values. My feelings about Christmas are more conflicted; my lack of enthusiasm often irritated her. Over the years our reactions to Christmas have gradually evolved to be more relaxed and more compatible.
As a child, our daughter believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. We played along with it. In the case of Santa, a very bad little boy named George who lived next door disillusioned her in kindergarten.
We chose not to raise our daughter as a religious believer. We didn’t make an energetic effort to “indoctrinate her” as an atheist, though we were irritated when a baby sitter started talking to her about Jesus without checking with us first. If our daughter had decided to become a religious believer at an age where we felt she was capable of making adult decisions, we would have accepted it. However, when she grew up and expressed beliefs similar to ours, we were happy that her beliefs were fairly close to ours.
The Barely Extended Family came to our Little House in the Middle-Sized Woods for an eve of Christmas Eve dinner. Random Granddaughter had a good time at times and a very stressful time at other times (mostly meal times). More about that later.
RG has been raised mostly without exposure to television. She has watched a couple of educational videotapes at preschool; that’s about it. She seems to have very little concept of television as a significant part of life.
We have a videotape of The Grinch. We decided to watch it as a family. I was curious about how she would react to the first television drama she would watch.
She watched intently and quietly without much comment or visible reaction.
Later Mommy (my daughter’s partner) said RG had been a little perturbed by the Grinch’s bad behavior and a little perturbed that she had been watching a “tay-vay” show, something she perceived as “bad.” My daughter and her partner quizzed each other a little sharply about who had been communicating to RG that television is “bad”; each denied talking to her in that fashion.
Later, while RG was taking a nap, Random Daughter and Out of Law Partner talked about what they were going to say to her about Jesus.
[More about the religious education of RG later.]