Meeting Report

November 18, 2012

Rebecca Hensler

Coping with the Holidays

The holiday season can be problematic for many Humanists. Many of us have family members who expect us to follow the traditional religious practices at this time of year. We all have our own means of coping with this situation.

Rebecca Hensler, who is a middle-school counselor in the San Francisco Bay area, gave her insights on dealing with this problem.. She talked about the hegemony of Christmas and of the fact that many people, including the religious, can become especially depressed if, for example, they have recently lost a job, a home or a family member. The broader society expects this to be an especially joyous time of year, which actually makes things worse for those who have little to be joyous about.

Rebecca mentioned the so called “War on Christmas” that Fox News has decried for the last few years. This attack on a nonexistent war goes hand in hand with the idea that the United States is officially a Christian nation. She went so far as to suggest that attacking “Happy Holidays” is racist. Although secularization of Christmas works for many people, she has issues with anything that would involve pretending to believe what one in fact one does not believe. People have to make up their own minds about how best to survive the holiday season.

We had a lot of give and take after the formal presentation. Many members recounted their personal experiences with religious relatives at funerals and holiday celebrations.

This excellent meeting was attended and enjoyed by about twenty people.

Report prepared by Wayne Luney

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