Chimneyside Chats with Austin Archer

Graphic created by Lucas Seidel Design

Gather 'round the open fire for Chimneyside Chats - a monthly feature with holiday stories from our favorite artists. See what's in their stockings this year as they reminisce on Christmas memories, share their favorite recipe and more! Here's what artist Austin Archer had to say:

I grew up in a strict LDS (Mormon) home in Utah. Every year the holidays were filled with lots of religious iconography and worship. We would read the story of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus out of the Bible (a painfully boring task that none of my siblings looked forward to) and we would watch my father’s favorite movie Ben-Hur (the 1959 version starring Charleton Heston; good flick, I recommend it).

As an atheistic adult I’ve founded many of my own holiday norms and traditions, and I’ve been able to weave a few of them into the time I spend with my family. My parents are big on repetition. Songs that we listen to intentionally at certain times, movies we watch, stories we tell, jokes, etc. I figured in that spirit I could find something nice and sweet, but decidedly secular to add to our list of holiday traditions.

I discovered this wonderful secular holiday tune by Tim Minchin called “White Wine in the Sun” several years ago and I’ve started making my family sit down and watch a video of him playing the song live every year. It’s a song that reminds the listener playfully that not all people share their belief that the son of God was born on Christmas. There are millions of people and families who simply enjoy the opportunity to gather with loved ones and to feel safe and taken care of, and that’s enough. Even though the song is clearly a Christmas hymn for non-believers, my mostly religious family members love it and are moved to tears whenever we sit down to watch the video and take in this new, more inclusive holiday tradition.

Learn more about Austin Archer and listen to the song he chose for our Chimneyside Chats playlist!
"White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin