57: An Apostate Guide to Enjoying the Holidays (from our archive)

For those who weren’t with The Expositor last year, here is another chance to listen to our holiday episode. Heather, Matt, Greg, and Clay discuss the importance of the holidays from the apostate/atheist perspective. They also discuss family relationships and give their opinions on how to handle various family/holiday situations. (Originally released on December 19th, 2012.)


Someday at Christmas


  1. jeanikins

    I enjoyed this podcast so much. The honesty was heart-breaking and heart filling. I feel that you covered it all; all the variations in personality, what you personally can handle. You also helped me to find ways to enjoy my favorite memories of this holiday that the Christian world calls Christmas – a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    I like that you brought out that it ‘in fact’ has been difficult to make it a religious and secular event, for a long time. We often heard sermons about putting Christ back into Christmas and church leaders seemed to have a hard time separating the feasting, the gifts, the decorations etc. from the ‘true meaning’.

    Because I was raised in the ‘Christian’ tradition and not the ‘Mormon’ one, when I joined the church I became fanatical about those things. I worried that my kids would not trust me if I lied to them about Santa and that the day would come when they would question if god was a lie.

    The one thing that I found I disagreed with was the comments regarding white lies. I’m with Sam Harris on this one. Lying is NOT a good thing and there are ways of ‘pretending’ where everyone concerned knows we are pretending, using hyperbole, sarcasm or what have you. There are ways to tell the truth that do not harm relationships. If you haven’t read ‘Lying’ by Sam Harris, I suggest that you do yourselves a huge favor and read it.

    Have a wonderful holiday season all of you and thank you for a year of thought provoking podcasts. Love to you all.

    Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:10:39
    • Expositor's Heather C.

      I have read Harris’ “Lying.” I thought he made some good points. I’d have to go back and listen to this episode to figure out what exactly we said that you’re responding to, though. Was it about Santa or something else?

      Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:22:29
      • jeanikins

        I’d have to go back and listen again but it was more than Santa. That was part of it. Seems to me it was Greg saying something, but don’t quote me on that. It seemed to be an underlying theme that it is okay to tell white lies and I believe there is no such thing as a white lie.

        Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 15:30:54
  2. jeanikins

    One more thing, is there any way to edit posts? I wanted to add a word but couldn’t.
    “I like that you brought out that it ‘in fact’ has been difficult to make it ‘both’ a religious and secular event, for a long time.”
    As evidence of that I give you, as beautiful as it is – the lights around the temples, especially temple square. It is extravagant in a world of need and light is all about the solstice celebrations, the return of the sun that the ancients celebrated.
    “Let’s go shopping.”

    Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:17:01
    • Expositor's Heather C.

      Wish there was a way to edit posts – I’ve needed it. haha. Unfortunately, there is not. It’s one of the drawbacks of this comment format. But the Disqus format didn’t work for our page – the comments were unreadable. So we’re stuck. :-/

      Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:20:48
  3. jeanikins

    Oh yeh, one thing. When we get older telling lies to our spouse when we are no longer physically attractive or whatever, that was part of it. None of you are at that stage yet, so you don’t even know.
    We don’t tell lies to one another – we laugh about it. What we have together is anchored in something much more binding. We don’t tell lies. I saw a much older lady yesterday wearing a bright red jacket to dinner and I told her, “I love your jacket, it’s so Christmasy.” I didn’t tell her she had no wrinkles and that she had a humped back.”

    Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 15:36:52
  4. jeanikins

    Final comment ;)
    I just finished re-listening to the first part of the podcast up to where Greg talks about the above comment regarding lying to an older spouse. That was the main part of it – Santa and that. ^^^^

    It’s no wonder you poor raised in the Utah or is it US (?) version of Mormonism struggle so much to come to terms with family traditions, blessing the food, drinking in front of your parents etc.

    You all knew what the ‘elf’ thing was about. I have never been manipulated by a male or female elf leading up to Christmas; that is a horrible tradition and Matt I do think it is very manipulative. Throw it out with the bath water please.

    The conclusion I have come to is that you needed to have someone from another faith tradition on this particular podcast. I know it is The Mormon Expositor, but the word Mormon doesn’t exclude me and other ‘converts’.

    I’m not being jerky here (this is a kind tone). You speak as though everyone was raised with similar traditions. I don’t know how old the youngest of you is, but I spent 39 ‘adult’ years as a Mormon and I think you needed me on that podcast because obviously I have a lot to say on the topic and a whole lot of experience that you don’t have.

    I still loved the podcast and I really learned a lot about how to enjoy the season again and to embrace the music I love. We had an exmo party to which my husband came and another non-believer’s spouse. While the spouse played piano we sat around and sang our favorite Christmas carols and it was wonderful and we sounded SOOOOO good:)

    Reply Dec 16, 2013 @ 16:22:24
  5. Jordan

    I really found the different experiences with music interesting. For me, I still love religious holiday music. Music, especially around the holidays, can really make me emotional. Religious or secular, it helps me get in the spirit of Christmas and also think about what the holiday means to me. Even Matt’s version of Someday at Christmas made me a tad bit emotional.

    I have had some friends tell me that it is a sign that deep down I still believe or want to believe or that it is the spirit trying to speak to me. I know that this isn’t true, especially on wanting to believe. So I was curious how this played into the experiences expressed on this podcast. For those that aren’t affected by music, is it because it might be a symbol of you believing? For those that do get emotional, does it ever make you question your disbelief?

    Reply Dec 18, 2013 @ 15:14:00

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