Humanists have lots of names for our end of the year celebrations: Winter Solstice, Humanist Solstice, Winter Holidays, HumanLight, Winter Festival, and Festivus. Here are some festivities being hosted by American Humanist Association’s (AHA’s) local groups across the country and online (in chronological order by local time).
Tuesday, December 13
AHA’s December Speaking of Humanism event is Tuesday, December 13, 6:30pm ET “How to Celebrate for Skeptics (not Cynics)” with Sasha Sagan, author of For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World. Her exploration of celebrations and rituals through a scientific lens is partially inspired by the work of her parents, Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. Join our Zoom Webinar live or watch the recording on the AHA YouTube Channel and AHA Center for Education website.
Wednesday, December 14
Prairie State Humanists will enjoy a HumanLight Potluck Wednesday, December 14, 7pm CT at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church in Naperville, IL. Along with dinner, they’ll have games, poetry, and a white-elephant-like gift exchange of wrapped books. RSVP needed on their Meetup.
Thursday, December 15
End of the Line Humanists is holding their Holiday Social Gathering on Thursday, December 15, 6-9pm CT at One Lake Brewing in Oak Park, IL. Join them for food, drink, humanist carols, readings, games, prizes, and an optional white-elephant gift exchange.
Saturday, December 17
Join secular and humanist organizations for the third annual Virtual HumanLight celebration. HumanLight is a secular holiday, on or around December 23, that celebrates Reason, Compassion, and Hope—and brings people together to recognize the passing of one year as we look forward to a new one. Register on Zoom to attend Saturday, December 17, 4pm ET. Artist and activist Rogiérs will be our Master of Ceremonies and Elle Harris—young author of Elle the Humanist—will be our keynote speaker. Representatives from American Humanist Association, The Freethought Society, Black Nonbelievers, and Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association will help light the way to a better future for humanity. We’ll share joyful music of reflection and celebration, including an original by the Freedom From Religion Foundation Godless Gospel. Stay after the program for Zoom breakout room discussions on the science of Dark Sky efforts, humanist philosophy, challenges to our movement, caring communities, and more.
Humanist Forum invites you to join Hungry/Thirsty Humanists Get Together for Good Cheer & Holiday Lights on Saturday, December 17, 4-7pm ET. They’re starting at Iechyd Da Brewing Company in Elkhart, IN then heading to Wellfield for the Winter Wonderful Event, a garden of over 1.2 million individual lights.
Sunday, December 18
Philadelphia Ethical Society will light candles and kindle hope for brighter days ahead during their Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday, December 18, 11am-12:30pm ET. Vaccinated and boosted folks can join in person at their building in Philadelphia, PA (with masks and vaccination cards) and all can join on Zoom.
Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago is excited to return their annual Winter Festival to their building in Skokie, IL on Sunday, December 18, 10:30am-12pm CT. “We’ll again enjoy many of our old traditions like a winter sing-a-long, performances by our children, handmade gifts to the community, and a candle lighting. We’ll decorate our Mitten Tree with your donations of hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens which will then be donated to those in need.”
Ethical Society of Austin is holding a hybrid Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday, December 18, 10:30am CT at their Austin, TX home and on Zoom. “We invite each person to bring something to share: a memory, a poem, a story, a song, anything that means something to you about this season.”
Ethical Society of Mid Rivers’ Human Light Celebration will be on Sunday, December 18, 10:30am CT at their St Peters, MO location.
Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia hopes you’ll join their Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday, December 18, 1-4pm ET at Giant Supermarket Community Room in Willow Grove, PA. Food and beverages will be provided by Giant so they need RSVPs by December 11.
Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville is presenting their Winter Festival on Zoom on Sunday, December 18, 2:30pm ET.
Atheists and Other Freethinkers are throwing a family-friendly HumanLight/Solstice Party on Sunday, December 18, 12-2:30pm PT at New Reason Center in Sacramento, CA. The party will include a potluck, music, songs, games, and socializing. They’ll also be collecting nonperishable food and other necessities for two local charities, the River City Food Bank and the Sacramento Pet Food Bank.
Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society’s Winter Solstice Celebration will take place Sunday, December 18, 4:30-6pm ET starting at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg, PA and continuing at the CommUnity Zone for food and drinks.
Billings Association of Humanists and Billings Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are co-hosting a Solstice/Holiday Cheer Gathering and Carol Singing (from a songbook the humanist group compiled) on Sunday, December 18, 3-5pm MT at First Congregational United in Billings, MT.
Ethical Society of St Louis is spreading Good Cheer on Sunday, December 18, 4:30-8pm CT with a hybrid event both in their building in St Louis, MO and online. They’ll open with punch and a potluck dinner before sharing a festive performance and then enjoying dessert and a special treat for the children.
Monday, December 19
First Coast Freethought Society is hosting its Annual Human Light Celebration on Monday, December 19, 6-8:30pm ET at Olive Garden in Jacksonville, FL. “We celebrate the season, install 2023 officers, recognize past accomplishments, and celebrate 24 years of existence!” RSVP now on their Meetup.
Tuesday, December 20
Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is celebrating Winter Solstice with drinks and nosh at Ventura’s Mexican Restaurant in Toledo, OH Tuesday, December 20, 5:30-6:45pm CT and then “Star Struck: Navigating the Night Sky” from 7-8pm CT at the Lone Oak Area Playground in the Secor Rd Metropark. Join them to explore the “basics of beginner stargazing, such as how to read and use a star chart and planisphere, good apps to use, and beginner friendly tips and tricks to help you start navigating the night sky with ease.”
Wednesday, December 21
The Jefferson Center Winter Solstice Party and Potluck is Wednesday, December 21, 4pm PT at their Old Ashland Armory space in Ashland, OR. Learn about the actual reason for the season—the tilted axis of the earth relative to the sun—while enjoying food and games. RSVP by email with the dish you’re bringing.
Saturday, December 24
Atheists United’s choir, Voices of Reason, will perform at the 63rd L.A. County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, December 24 at 3-6pm PT. The Emmy Award-winning Celebration, a tradition since 1959, will feature over twenty music ensembles, choirs, and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up LA. Join them live for the free event or watch on PBS SoCal.
The end of the year can be especially difficult for incarcerated people away from family and friends and uncomfortable with their facility’s religious celebrations. Help us spread some cheer to them by sending season’s greetings from a fellow humanist. They love hearing from you, so please email HumanismForAll@americanhumanist.org to join our holiday letter campaign.
Hope you all have a happy and healthy end to 2022. See you in 2023.