2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Humanists

By Steve Major

Happy December, fellow humanists! The time is rapidly approaching to honor the winter solstice by expressing your affection for your friends and loved ones in the form of purchasable objects. Fortunately the American Humanist Association is here with some handy suggestions on what to buy.

First thing’s first: no humanist should be deprived the status and dignity that comes from being an official member of the American Humanist Association. Gift memberships start at just $35, and come with a full year’s subscription to The Humanist magazine, Free Mind newsletter, and Humanist Network News; as well as a copy of Lloyd and Mary Morain’s Humanism as the Next Step and other great information about all the great work the AHA does each year.

Once you and your friends and loved ones are members, why not also make your hotel reservations for the AHA’s 72nd Annual Conference, being held May 30 – June 2, 2013 in sunny San Diego? There’s no better time to start looking forward to fun in the sun than when the daylight hours are shortest and the rain starts to turn to snow. 

Humanists are a philosophical and well-read bunch who enjoy adorning their shelves with new and excellent books. If your friend or loved one doesn’t yet own a copy of AHA president David Niose’s Nonbeliever Nation, now is the time to get it for them. While you’re at it, why not also buy a copy of The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology by the Institute for Humanist Studies research director and new AHA board member Anthony B. Pinn? Those looking to build themselves a new freethinker’s library this holiday season will find plenty more great works of non-fiction at Humanist Press Books.

For those with a thirst for cutting edge scientific knowledge, consider a gift subscription to Scientific American Get one for yourself while you’re at it and enjoy the pleasure of discussing the latest articles with your friends.

Philip Pullman, 2008 International Humanist of the Year and author of His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) continues to be my favorite work of fiction blacklisted by the Catholic Church. Be sure to check out the Recommended Reading List of the AHA’s newest project, KidsWithoutGod, for more great book suggestions.

Show off your humanist pride and make it easier to spot your car in a parking lot with a Happy Humanist Emblem from EvolveFish.com, the AHA’s official merchandiser and a great website for all your Darwin fish, atheist t-shirt, and freethinker bumper sticker needs.

Kids will get a kick out of making sugary science experiments with the Scientific Explorer’s Tasty Science Chemistry in the Kitchen Kit. And it’s infinitely better tasting than one of those papier-mâché volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar that are the perennial staple of children’s science fares.

Stay in for movie night with Religulous, the Bill Maher documentary in which he travels around the world mocking religion’s peculiarities.

Music lovers have a ton of great choices to buy for friends this Christmas, starting with Tim Minchin: Ready For This? and Shelley Segal’s An Atheist Album. Sample their, and lots more great atheist artists’ music on our Teens Without God site.

The humanist painter ArtPoet has a colorful and vibrant painting of the Happy Humanist for sale, along with many others inspired by fantasy and marine science. Prices range from $35 to around $300, and commissions are accepted. Ryan Wollard, an AHA member, also sells excellent portraits of prominent humanists and freethinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Neil deGrasse Tyson on his Etsy website, Charity Paintings. Ryan donates 100% of his sales to organizations such as the American Humanist Association and other progressive organizations.

Prices are better than ever for DVD collections of humanist award winning scribe Joss Whedon’s best television shows. January is cold; spend the whole month in bed and watch the complete series runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.

If commercialism isn’t really your thing, and everyone you know is already an AHA member, consider making a charitable donation on a loved one’s behalf. Adopt A Species, Doctors Without Borders or Planned Parenthood are all great organizations. Or consider giving to Humanist Charities, which allocates money to causes in urgent need, particularly for disaster relief.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Steve Major is the development associate for the American Humanist Association.

Let us know what you plan to buy for your friends and loved ones (or what you’re hoping to get) in the comments section.