AWAAM's Godless Christmas: a How To

The Christmas Tree Cluster
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We decorated my parents’ house and their Christmas tree yesterday. And it was while I was twining tinsel around every object in the house that I realised something: I really like Christmas. Not just the tinsel, but everything else. The lights and the shopping and the wrapping of presents. The food, the family, the fights. The deep breath before the start of a new year.
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For an atheist, it was a small revelation. Ever since I was a child, and I lost my belief in Santa and God in rapid succession, I’ve always enjoyed the time off, the presents and the togetherness, but never the trappings. I’ve merely tolerated the festive season. This year, however, something changed.
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I’ve decided that Christmas – or the summer solstice, or the winter solstice, or what have you – is, as the religious believe, a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and be thankful. To enjoy tradition and ritual, and to honour something larger than ourselves. So this year, I’m celebrating something pretty special: the birth of the universe.
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And I’m doing it the traditional AWAAM way: with food and music.
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Stars are already a symbol of Christmas - why not co-opt them in the same way that Christianity did from the pagans? It was, after all, in the furnace of the earliest, dying stars that the heavy elements of the universe were forged, from which all life eventuated. We are all star stuff. Celebrate that by busting out these delicious looking Star Cookies, found at the ever wonderful Souvlaki for the Soul.


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wonderful and hilarious ode to a godless universe. This gorgeous cake is a recreation of one of my favourite scenes from the series. Nothing says ‘let’s celebrate our brief existence’ like a whale and a bowl of petunias, recently come into being and plummeting towards the earth. You can find detailed instructions on Geek Mom.


My recommended listening this Christmas is something a bit different. Gather your family, find yourself a radio, and tune into a dead station. Listen to the static. Most of it is caused by random electromagnetic interference, but about 1 or 2 percent of it is 13 billion year old radiation left over from the Big Bang, expressed in microwaves that can be picked up by your radio. What you are hearing is the birth of our universe.
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And if you’re still in any doubt that the universe and our place in it is worth honouring, watch this extraordinary video.



Happy Christmas everyone.

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