Making Your Humanist Plan to Address Public Holidays

Humanizinga public holiday with a social justice and environmental lens is adventurous. Developing and maintaining a humanist calendar of holidays is an amazing endeavor and takes fortitude, imagination, and vitality. Homemade, non-commercialized, non-dogmatic, non-religious seasonal gatherings can be deeply meaningful. Visiting or borrowing from intentional communities and reframing traditional holidays can empower new visions.

Make social justice and climate justice the new “True North” point on your moral compass. This will compel decisions you make to go through the litmus test of: “This helps me, but does it help the Earth? Does it shine my values, both within me and to the world?” This is an invitation to approach all holidays with the creativity and rigor that is necessary to keep our carbon footprint minimal, and our deepest humanity at the center. Use the colors of a traffic light as guidance to evaluate holidays and practices:

Yellow: SLOW DOWN to listen and review the holiday you are revolutionizing.

Red: STOP and re-commit to a no-harm measurement, let go of harmful practices. 

Green: GO! Create with new vigor, new standards, new methods.

This lesson shares some ideas on various public holidays. Here’s a poem to inspire you onward:

“Choose to Bless the World” by Rebecca Parker, UUA minister (

Your gifts—whatever you discover them to be—
can be used to bless or curse the world.

The mind's power,
the strength of the hands,
the reaches of the heart,
the gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing, waiting

Any of these can serve to feed the hungry,
bind up wounds,
welcome the stranger,
praise what is sacred,
do the work of justice
or offer love.

Any of these can draw down the prison door,
hoard bread,
abandon the poor,
obscure what is holy,
comply with injustice
or withhold love.

You must answer this question:
What will you do with your gifts?

Choose to bless the world.

The choice to bless the world is more than an act of will,
a moving forward into the world
with the intention to do good.

It is an act of recognition,
a confession of surprise,
a grateful acknowledgment
that in the midst of a broken world
unspeakable beauty, grace and mystery abide.

There is an embrace of kindness
that encompasses all life, even yours.

And while there is injustice, anesthetization, or evil
there moves a holy disturbance,
a benevolent rage,
a revolutionary love,
protesting, urging, insisting
that which is sacred will not be defiled.

Those who bless the world live their life
as a gesture of thanks
for this beauty
and this rage.

The choice to bless the world can take you into solitude
to search for the sources
of power and grace;
native wisdom, healing, and liberation.

More, the choice will draw you into community,
the endeavor shared,
the heritage passed on,
the companionship of struggle,
the importance of keeping faith,
the life of ritual and praise,
the comfort of human friendship,
the company of earth
the chorus of life welcoming you.

None of us alone can save the world.
Together—that is another possibility,