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Celebrating holidays and traditions as a humanist can sometimes appear to be a contradiction.  “Holiday,” after all, is the etymological great-grandchild of Old English’s hāligdæg, or “holy day.”  Many now-atheist adults grew up with traditions celebrated through the lens of their childhood religion. Some may feel that we must somehow square our desire to celebrate our cherished holidays with being an atheist without losing our atheist card. Loving Christmas music may feel like a guilty pleasure. Perhaps we feel that we have to defend our enthusiasm for a good Easter egg hunt.
 
As parents, the question of what and how to celebrate is compounded because we are establishing a foundation of values for other human beings.  We want our children to experience all the joy of our past, but we want our traditions to be steeped in meaning that cultivates values for now and the future.  Really, that’s what tradition is; it’s a torch that unites the past and the future. The good news is that, as the current bearers of that torch, we have full freedom to define, create (or delete!), and take full ownership of those traditions.  In fact, we must. Modeling active agency in the creation of our own meaning and finding ways to live our values is our responsibility to the next generation.

Amy will share the importance of holidays, celebrations, and traditions on a basic human level.  Not only will she show that holidays are not the exclusive domain of religion, but she'll show how they are vital to a humanist philosophy. From updating conventional holidays to brand-new traditions, Monsky will share specific ideas for celebrations that kids (and adults) will love. There will also be an opportunity for audience members to share their best-loved humanist holidays and traditions, so if you have a great one, please come prepared to share!

Amy Monsky has over a decade of experience serving and supporting secular parents, youth, and families.  A parent herself, she founded Camp 42, an overnight summer camp for kids 8-17 years old from non-religious families, after finding a discouraging lack of secular options.  Before that, she founded South Carolina’s first secular parent support group, Secular Humanist Families of Charleston. Amy has written lesson plans for the Satanic Temple’s After School Satan club and has spoken at atheist and humanist conferences on the topics of secular parenting and the importance of community for secular youth.

Amy's passion is supporting secular parents, families, and youth, but
she has many years of experience in the atheist movement.  Over the
last 11 years Amy has served as President of the Secular Humanists of
the Lowcountry, state coordinator of the Secular Coalition of South
Carolina, and as Executive Director for Atheist Alliance of America.

 

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