Humanists Celebrate the End of 2020

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

It’s been quite a challenging year, but we’re making it through together and that’s certainly reason to celebrate. American Humanist Association’s chapters and affiliates invite you to join their December festivities online to stay socially connected while physically distant. Check out these events (in chronological order and listed in eastern US time) and find more with our groups here.

Thursday, December 10

For AHA’s monthly Speaking of Humanism series, Janey Rizvi, a founding member of The Oasis Network, will talk about “Humanist Holiday Delights and Disputes” on Thursday, December 10 from 6:30-8pm ET on Zoom and Facebook Live. He’ll explore how this joyous time of year can easily inflame conflicts over the wrong greeting or coffee cup between strangers and family alike. Find out how he celebrates the season and navigates the holiday sensibilities of his religious family and traditionally conservative community in his home state of Texas.

Saturday, December 12

The Secular Humanists of Rochester want to take you on a Facebook Live walking tour of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, which goes all out for the holiday season. Get ready to virtually travel on Saturday, December 12 from 12-1:30pm ET. Group organizer Linda Stephens shares,

Iceland is a very secular country with an atheist population ranking in the top 10 in the world. Chris Johnson, the writer and filmmaker, recently traveled there for a screening of “A Better Life,” his wonderful film about how atheists find joy and meaning in life without God…Attendance is free for this cool event, but if you enjoy the experience, tip Valur, the tour guide.

The Tree of Knowledge

The Freethought Society (FS) and the Philadelphia Ethical Society (PES) are presenting an exciting and unusual worldwide Zoom Winter Holiday event on Saturday, December 12 at 2:45pm ET. A Tree of Knowledge will be decorated with laminated cover copies of inspiring books as we hear from their authors and listen to musical performances. Margaret Downey, president of FS, and Hugh Taft-Morales, leader of PES, will introduce special guests such as Rob Boston, Christopher Cameron, Karen Garst, Abby Hafer, Bailey & Elle Harris, David Orenstein, and more. Join them on Zoom and find additional information on the FS website.

End December 12 on a happy note with Atheist Community of Polk County’s Holiday Cheer! – A charity stream-a-thon on YouTube Live from 7-11:30pm ET. They’ll be featuring holiday songs, stories, poems and more from local secular activists and some recognizable faces from the broader nonreligious community and beyond like Mandisa Thomas, Anthony Mangabosco, Hemant Mehta, Devon Graham, and more. This awesome event is also a fundraiser for Foundation Beyond Belief.

Saturday, December 19

Audrey Kingstrom of HumanistsMN, also a Humanist Celebrant endorsed by The Humanist Society, knows that celebration is a unique and ubiquitous human response to life as social beings. She invites you all to join Reclaim the holiday season! Celebrate the winter solstice! on Saturday, December 19 from 4-6pm ET. You’ll enjoy reflection, poetry, musical suggestions, practical ideas, and much discussion on how to create and celebrate a winter holiday that is meaningful and fun. Audrey also collaborated with the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis to move their winter solstice extravaganza online on Sunday, December 20 from 6:45-8:30pm ET with caroling, poetry, music, readings, and costumed characters. Check out their DIY Solstice Kit.

Hartford Area Humanists will be hosting their 8th Annual Winter Solstice/HumanLight Zopen House Celebration on Saturday, December 19 from 7-10pm ET on Zoom (RSVP on Meetup to get Zoom link). This year they’re including a fundraiser for FoodShare CT instead of the usual food drive. Attendees are welcome to dress in festive attire, decorate your Zoom environment, and enjoy a Signature Solstice Cocktail recipe (coming soon to Meetup). You’re also encouraged to share with the group something uplifting that is helping you cope or keeping you sane during the pandemic. “Some ideas include: books, poetry, music, recipes, favorite cocktails, hobbies, movies/documentaries, streaming series to binge-watch, stupid pet tricks, etc…please feel free to be creative.”

Wednesday, December 23

HumanLight, December 23 each year, is a holiday that illuminates humanism’s positive secular vision of reason, compassion, and hope. It is a time of reflection on the year ending and preparing for the year ahead. Washington Area Secular Humanists usually celebrate each year with a party at Gary Berg-Cross’ home, but this year they’re opening the doors to include a national audience by collaborating with Foundation Beyond Belief, Freethought Society, Chicago Humanists, Baltimore Coalition of Reason, and Black Nonbelievers of DC. Join in on Zoom on Wednesday, December 23 from 7-9:30pm ET for candle lighting, music with singer Lea Morris, comedy with Krish Mohan, poetry, discussion, games, and beautiful decorations by Margaret Downey and Emily Wilson. Emily shares, “My main focus visually for decorating was to heavily emphasize the main HumanLight colors, which are red, yellow/gold, and blue. I carefully picked out decorations that were the most saturated and vibrant in those colors so that the house would feel livelier.”

Sunday, December 27

Atheists and Other Freethinkers in Sacramento is going back in time with Sean O’Brien as “the Great Agnostic” Robert Green Ingersoll on Sunday, December 27 from 5-7pm ET on Zoom. Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) was an American orator and Illinois Attorney General who toured the nation after leaving office, enlightening thousands about agnosticism, separation of religion and government, women’s rights, the value of science, and much we hold dear today. Ingersoll impersonator and local dramatist Sean O’Brien will present passages from some of Ingersoll’s most memorable speeches, including his strong 1885 declaration about the rights of women.

How are you celebrating the winter solstice? Share your plans on social media using #MySecularHoliday. I hope you all have a safe and festive end to 2020.