Christmas is for Christians, not for atheists – or is it?

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Discussion by: Alexinpessac

Well, it's nearly that time of year again (at least in my impatient mind!!). I ought to come clean – I'm an atheist who loves, and has always loved, Christmas. But am I a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas?

The argument for 'yes' is simply that it is a Christian festival ('Christ' 'mass' being the first clue, Sherlock…). It celebrates a Bible story, an erroneous religious belief, something we atheists obviously reject. However, having looked on this site for opinions on Christmas I dug up some comments which characterised Christmas as being just a 'winter festival' with 'pagan' elements, a 'commercial' phenomenon, a good time for families, parties etc., and that we should just 'chill out' and enjoy the food and drink and presents. Which is what I do.

The late, great Christopher Hitchens despised Christmas, my one big disagreement with him. I have always adored it for the atmosphere, carols, tree, presents etc, i.e nostalgia, emotion, memories of family long gone.

So : what are your thoughts on all this? Are any of you anti-Christmas (maybe for the same reason you might be anti-Ramadan, for example?) I think it could be a rich debate.

58 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not anti-anything, specially if it involves drinking and partying. I just don’t know why it has to be on that date, have religious connotations, and be called Christmas, because drinking, partying, chilling with family and friends, giving each other free shit etc. That just sounds like a Saturday. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But just because Christmas has all that historical baggage attached to it, it automatically is for no real reason.

  2. I have no problem with Christmas. I celebrate it with my family. My in laws have an awesome tradition that involves cooking many many fish dishes (it is supposed to be 7 fish but at their house it is more like 14). We laugh and drink and sing and play pinochle on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas day we hang at my house. 30 people for dinner. I love it.

    I have even gone to mass a few times. It reminds me of my Nan and I use the time as a kind of meditation. I used to rail against all the bullshit, especially the congregation standing and reciting the nicene creed that I KNOW none of them believe in it’s totality. Hypocrisy is rampant, but there is some value in a quiet hour.

  3. I think all atheists should lock themselves in the cellar during Christmas and chant “bah humbug”.

    They (and the Christians) should also call the days of the week Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, and Day 7 because otherwise they would be worshiping the Sun, Moon, Tiw, Wodan, Thor, Frige and Saturn.

    Alternatively we could try not to over analyse everything.

    Michael

  4. My husband and I too enjoy Christmas and use it as an opportunity to teach our kids about what the celebration originally meant, how it has evolved, and the stories behind each of the traditions (why we have Christmas trees is my personal fave). Personally, I think it’s cool to think that we are connected to those long passed by carrying on these traditions – in reverie by the fireside and tree, I fancy what bonfire celebrations ancient peoples might have been like. But maybe I’m too sentimental that way.

  5. Christmas is a melding of Roman Saturnalia, Norse, and Christian traditions.

    The Secular things I like include:

    • yule fire
    • eggnog
    • turkey with cranberry sauce.
    • flaming plum pudding
    • Sister Daphne’s squash casserole (main ingredient cholesterol) (recipe posted in with my carol collection)
    • Christmas tree
    • gifts
    • holly bows
    • evergreen bows
    • playing parlour games after dinner
    • family gathering
    • snow
    • secular carols
    • leftovers

    The Christian things I like include:

    • the way it becomes fashionable to help rather than spit on the homeless.
    • singing carols

    The secular things I don’t like include:

    • the pressure to shop for near strangers
    • the crowded stores
    • the cheesy Christmas music you cannot escape.

    The Christian things I don’t like include:

    • Santa Claus
    • pictures of Jesus looking as if he has gas
    • songs with the word “blood” or “virgin” in them.
  6. to celebrate the birth of a man-god, born of a virgin in a manger at the winter solstace and visited by wise men and not worship Mithras is a hypocrite

    As an atheist I get Christmas day off work, and the feast of St Stephen. i’ll do what I bloody well like with it and if xtians don’t want me to enjoy myself they should petition the government to remove religious bank holidays.

  7. Christmas in the modern day is mostly secularized, as far as I can tell. Sometimes, it’s worth remembering that history is just that: history. What’s done is done. In the here and now, for many, it’s just an arbitrary family tradition with some feel-good values of niceness associated with it, and I don’t mind it. If I had to complain, it would be about the crass commercialization that flares up in the months preceding it, but hey, nothing’s perfect.

    Don’t ask me about Hanukkah, though. I don’t know jack about it.

  8. But am I a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas? – The argument for ‘yes’ is simply that it is a Christian festival

    There were mid-winter festivals long before Xtianity. The Romans had wild parties for Saturnalia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia) and the Vikings had the beer festival of Yule! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule)

    Mid-winter festivals and parties are great fun to cheer up the dark days in the northern hemisphere, but let’s not attribute them to Xtianity or commercialism!

  9. Christmas is a wonderful national secular holiday with festive decorations that celebrates the importance of friends and family. Santa Claus is a mythical central figure that adds a sense of fun and mystery.

    What does any of this have to do with “Christians” or religion?

  10. Christmas is a cheerful time, and I use it to celebrate with my family. I explain to my kids the christian roots of the now mainly secular festival, and its connection to earlier pagan winter festivals.

    It is part of my culture, and I can enjoy it as a good excuse to celebrate with family without feeling the least bit a hypocrite. Santa clause, xmas trees, turkey dinner and presents, but no baby jesus is part of my celebration.

  11. A better question is why do Christians have Christmas trees, candles, mistletoe, have feasts, when they are all pagan traditions. And also why they celebrate it at the time of the winter solstice when Jesus’ actual birthday would probably have been in the spring.

    I like most of the traditional things about Christmas, i.e. the gathering of families, feasting, boozing, celebrating light and warmth while strongly disliking all the commercial elements. The religious bits of Christmas are completely irrelevant to me.

    I’d prefer to refer to it as Yule but I think it might mark me out as a weirdo.

    • Bobes,
      MORE of a weirdo :-P

      PS. i always like to add the “MORE” to such statement. Usually gets a laugh.

      In reply to #16 by bob_e_s:

      A better question is why do Christians have Christmas trees, candles, mistletoe, have feasts, when they are all pagan traditions. And also why they celebrate it at the time of the winter solstice when Jesus’ actual birthday would probably have been in the spring.

      I like most of the traditional thin…

      • In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

        Bobes,
        MORE of a weirdo :-P

        PS. i always like to add the “MORE” to such statement. Usually gets a laugh.

        I was going to add that…then I thought I didn’t want to sound like I was trying to be ‘wacky’.

        • Bobes,
          MORE wacky!!!! HAHAHAHA

          It always works (but does get old, no?)

          In reply to #20 by bob_e_s:

          In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

          Bobes,
          MORE of a weirdo :-P

          PS. i always like to add the “MORE” to such statement. Usually gets a laugh.

          I was going to add that…then I thought I didn’t want to sound like I was trying to be ‘wacky’.

    • In reply to #16 by bob_e_s:

      A better question is why do Christians have Christmas trees, candles, mistletoe, have feasts, when they are all pagan traditions. And also why they celebrate it at the time of the winter solstice when Jesus’ actual birthday would probably have been in the spring.

      I think there are two answers to that question:

      1. Xtians assimilated the “pagan” festivals to drag in converts with less protests. (In ancient Rome, medieval Europe and South America).

      2. Modern “faith-thinkers” would just accept that they have always been Xtian festivals if they are told so by their preachers.

      http://www.livescience.com/25779-christmas-traditions-history-paganism.html

      Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Battle for Christmas” (Vintage, 1997),

      3 The Church was slow to embrace Christmas

      Despite the spread of Christianity, midwinter festivals did not become Christmas for hundreds of years. The Bible gives no reference to when Jesus was born, which wasn’t a problem for early Christians, Nissenbaum said.

      “It never occurred to them that they needed to celebrate his birthday,” he said.

      With no Biblical directive to do so and no mention in the Gospels of the correct date, it wasn’t until the fourth century that church leaders in Rome embraced the holiday.

      At this time, Nissenbaum said, many people had turned to a belief the Church found heretical: That Jesus had never existed as a man, but as a sort of spiritual entity.

      “If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?” Nissenbaum said. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]

      Midwinter festivals, with their pagan roots, were already widely celebrated, Nissenbaum said.

      And the date had a pleasing philosophical fit with festivals celebrating the lengthening days after the winter solstice (which fell on Dec. 21 this year).

      “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,” one Cyprian text read.

      • In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #16 by bobes:
        Xtians assimilated the “pagan” festivals to drag in converts with less protests. (In ancient Rome, medieval Europe and South America).

        Absolutely. I think that’s fairly common knowledge. What I was getting at was that Christians still use the symbology of the pagan festivals. Isn’t there stuff in the bible about false gods and idolatry and stuff?

        So my point was I think it’s a bit rich for Christians to sneer at atheists for celebrating Christmas, when if it was a purely religious festival, as they claim, most of the traditions that go with Christmas shouldn’t be followed.

        • _In reply to #30 by bob-e-s:

          In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

          Absolutely. I think that’s fairly common knowledge. What I was getting at was that Christians still use the symbology of the pagan festivals. Isn’t there stuff in the bible about false gods and idolatry and stuff?

          Yeh! ..But you are not using the cognitive dissonance of faith-thinking! Look at the statues of “saints”, icons and crosses in Catholic churches, and pilgrimages to kiss the toes of statues, and to pray over bones and relics!

          http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/05/mexico-saints/schwartz-photography

  12. Not only do I hold Hitchens as the final bastion of logic, I have worked in the industry based around the holiday. Yes I have donned a harness, climbed and bolted together 35 foot Christmas trees, decorated and adorned shopping malls with the latest December signage depicting “must-haves”. I did in fact did quit from mostly an ideological standpoint. The ghastly capitalist festival failed to mesh with my chosen means of prolonged existence. So dear OP, I am one who is most certainly ‘anti-Christmas’. The smell of freshly cut pine fills my mother’s home each year however. As ‘Christmas’ through time, can have less to do with an imaginary ‘christ’ as it does well made custard trifle. Tradition is for families. Unfortunate or not, families dwell largely in capitalist cities. Nothing is for Christians, other than hellfire or other imagined bullshit. Festivals will persist, They are human behaviours beyond division.Let us not dismiss the pagan roots or otherwise, which the amalgam of ‘christmas’ has arisen from, of course.

    • In reply to #18 by Timothy McNamara:

      Not only do I hold Hitchens as the final bastion of logic, I have worked in the industry based around the holiday. Yes I have donned a harness, climbed and bolted together 35 foot Christmas trees, decorated and adorned shopping malls with the latest December signage depicting “must-haves”. I did in…

      I share your pain… I can no longer go into shopping centers at christmas time. I put up way too many christmas trees and baubles in my time. It is nothing more than a big sales pitch for the retailers.

      I’d be happy to get rid of both secular and religious aspects of Christmas.

  13. Keep in mind that it celebrates a part of the New Testament that most scholars think was a total fabrication. The whole story about Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem is almost certainly not historically accurate. I realize some people think none of the new testament is historically accurate but I don’t agree. I think there most likely was a Jewish teacher named Jesus who was from Nazareth. The bit about going to Bethlehem only occurs in one Gospel though and the most likely theory is that particular gospel author was motivated to convince Jews (the target audience he was trying to convert to the new religion of Christianity) that Jesus really was the Messiah. One of the prophesies the Messiah was supposed to fulfill was to be born in Bethlehem. Nazareth (where Jesus was probably actually from) was a one donkey town that no one had heard of. Not to mention the whole thing about him being born on the Winter solstice isn’t even in the bible. Actually, it’s interesting because it shows how Christianity ended up being a hybrid religion as it tried to absorb heathens and Jews to the new religion. The part about being from Bethlehem was to attract Jewish converts and associating with the winter solstice for the heathens.

    But anyway, yes I’ve always celebrated Christmas and I see no problem with it at all. It’s not just about Jesus it’s also about families and friends.

  14. I’m certainly not a fan of the disruption to normal life, I have tried and failed to treat it as a normal day / month due to the fact that the entire country goes into mass hysteria. Public transport, (laughable out here at the best of times) becomes non-existent, basic services cease to function and religious groups see nothing wrong with closing off city and town centres in the middle of this pandemonium, for a parade.
    Now I tend to treat it as akin to getting snowed in for a few days. With extra alcohol…
    Of course kids like it, or rather like getting adults to open their wallets…

  15. Perhaps we should start a petition to get it renamed “Crispmas” in honour of Quentin Crisp? At least he was actually born on the 25th of December.

    That would get a few backs up!

    For me it’s just a few days off work and a chance to eat myself stupid while watching “The Great Escape”.

  16. I’m all for the feast, the company and the Christmas Quiz which I do every year.

    The other thing I like about Christmas Day is the silence, and I live not that far from the centre of London. In the country the silence is even more pronounced. Silence is wonderful !

    Naturally I hate all the commercial hype about having to go out and buy stuff that you know will be thrown away in January. If in doubt, give some money. Baby Jesus never crosses my mind.

  17. For generations our family has only ever celebrated Christmas in a secular way. ( there must be something in my genetic code that directs me away from the fanciful.) I do enjoy the season nonetheless. I like stores bedecked in their Christmas tat. I don’t mind endless renditions of carols old and new. I enjoy decorating the tree and wrapping presents. I like the excess of food and good cheer. On Dec 26th, the extent of the tackiness is revealed in all its glory. I don’t know if there’s any sort of message in all this except to say that baby Jesus doesn’t get a look in.

    • In reply to #35 by Lilium:

      I for one regret this opportunity to explain Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s mutant gene and how in the end, no one laughed or called him names.

      I’m not sure if they can do RED, but there is a sporting chance of a glowing GREEN nose!

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205-162-57598551/

      It sounds more like a child’s toy, but glow-in-the-dark bunnies are now a living, breathing reality — and researchers say they could help bring affordable drug therapies to developing countries.

      In a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii at Manoa and two universities in Turkey, scientists created two transgenic (genetically modified) bunnies by inserting a gene from jellyfish DNA into a rabbit embryo.

      Furry and white in normal lighting, the pair glows bright green under black light.

  18. Never a believer, I’ve always eaten Christmas up. As you say, the atmosphere, food, partying, etc, etc. It’s an end of year blast, and can be enjoyed, in that respect by anyone if they want. You don’t even have to do the blast, but simply enjoy a different time, and different food. Some years back, I nearly agreed with places calling it “Winterval” amongst others, but then decided that was ridiculous. I’ll stick with the name Christmas, but the only thing that miffs me about that, is the Church going on about the ‘real meaning’. The fact is, we all know the festivities pre-date Christianity, and they gate-crashed, but so what now? You can do just party-time, just the Nativity, or both, depending who you are.
    I have Hindu neighbours, and they do Diwali big time, as well as all the other festivals (and there are quite a few), and they gave me a card and a bottle last year, and said they were off to a Christmas party on Eve, and again on Boxing Day. At the shopping centre, I see mothers with their kids lining up to see Santa, and there are all sorts of people, in what is quite an Asian area. Santa is for all.
    The only person I have ever heard moan about Christmas, was Christian – a Jehovah’s Witness. This was at work, and he declared he doesn’t celebrate because it is a pagan festival. Most of the office, including Hindus, Sikhs and even a muslim looked at him as if he was nuts and was obviously missing the point – nevermind his kids.
    It all brings back to me, the time when I was about four or five years old, and said to my mum, “what’s a Christmas tree got to do with Jesus?”

  19. I’ve never been plagued by a faith virus, so generally ignore all the religious holidays, while my concerns about Earth’s ecology make me critical about all the money & resources wasted during them. I get irritated at the 2 months of Xmas commercialism, extravagant Xmas decorations, wrapping & lights, or costumes & treats at Halloween, etc. In North America these are taken to extremes, exposing much hypocrisy, selfishness, greed & one-upmanship.

    When I was married with a small son, I refused to buy any killed plants, using our big Ficus bush to hang some simple Xmas decorations, minimized the Santa stuff & kept the over-eating to a reasonable level.

    Nowadays, I’m usually with my 40 year best friend, wife & kin on Xmas day, where their mild Anglican-style faith hardly shows & my presents are food & drink contributions to dinner for ~14.

    More recently, I celebrate the Winter Solstice in a quiet reflective way, sending best wishes to friends everywhere online, then welcome the New Year in a more boisterous manner with friends of long standing, some of whom don’t remain standing…. 8-) Mac.

    • In reply to #38 by CdnMacAtheist:
      >

      More recently, I celebrate the Winter Solstice in a quiet reflective way, sending best wishes to friends everywhere online, then welcome the New Year in a more boisterous manner with friends of long standing, some of whom don’t remain standing…. 8-) Mac.

      Ah yes! (My wife and her family are are Scottish!)

  20. Christmas itself is for christians. I join in for the fun but the actual celebration of the holiday is clearly for children and christians. They are very much alike. We can’t sue a child who lies about us because a child doesn’t know right from wrong, true from false (in a legal sense) and we don’t hold them to the standard we hold adults. It’s really quite similar with adults who believe in ghosts, gods, miracles and other nonsense. Christmas depends on believing a bunch of silly stuff that never happened so as atheists we can chuckle at that while we decorate a tree and put presents under it (I do). We can enjoy the music and celebrate the season and the people and all sorts of stuff that is encompassed in the holiday. I do. But of course Christians are celebrating the imaginary event of somebody being raised from the dead…oh…no…they are celebrating a virgin birth, right? I forget some of the basics of this stuff but none of that concerns me. I have a chance to give my grandkids and family presents and have them over for dinner and have a wonderful time. Last year I started dinner with, “Let us join hands and pray.” Everyone looked at me and I said, “Hah, just kidding.” and got a good laugh.

    • In reply to #41 by digibud:

      Christmas itself is for christians. I join in for the fun but the actual celebration of the holiday is clearly for children and christians. They are very much alike. We can’t sue a child who lies about us because a child doesn’t know right from wrong, true from false (in a legal sense) and we don’t…

      So in effect, you do celebrate Christmas. It’s just a word that encompasses quite a few things. All you leave out is the Nativity.

  21. Christmas was the consequence of tax reform. As indicated by the nativity scene of the accommodation crunch attributable to mass tax evasion practises of the era. (Census to establish the tax base for assessment).

    Now that we have Christmas we need to hold on to it for as long as possible. Any change would generate further tax reform and employment law reform. Given that every governments’ appetite for resources is insatiable then there can be no such thing as good tax reform.

    What we are celebrating at Christmas time is effectively the fact that we have Christmas time, and not something worse. It’s a celebration of taxes not increasing. At last not by as much as they otherwise might.

    Thanks to the reasonably sensible politics of avoiding civil war by not offending religious power brokers our civilisation maintains Christmas traditions. We get some time off from work as a side-effect. Maybe this was originally a concession to the census period where people travel some considerable distance from where they live and work to register their tax presence in some other location. A reason why many people can afford to take this time off work is because we are legally exempt the taxes that otherwise would be payable, based on the work we ‘should’ otherwise have performed during this period.

    It wasn’t always like this. It is more typical through history for taxes to be based on estimated capital or potential earnings, often being ad hoc impositions, with tax payments independent of actual income earned less costs incurred. After being deemed capable of a certain amount of gross yearly production then you will be obliged to hand a proportion (typically most) to the relevant authorities. Regardless of whether or not you have been able to produce to the required level owing to routine costs of doing business, drought, storms, illness, military seizures, enslavement of family or staff members, or criminal predation.

    Failure to pay on time typically attracts the practises of extort via excise – where body parts of one’s children and family are cut out or twisted out (origin of the word torture) until such time as the delinquent taxpayer returns their goods or money. Tax is a ‘return’ because it already belongs to the sovereign. You get to keep any of it only to the extent that the sovereign deems sufficient to increase the likelihood of your surviving long enough to pay again in the next round. But sovereigns sometimes have more important immediate concerns than leaving taxpayers enough resources to survive on.

    Based on this historical reality then Christmas isn’t really a positive celebration of Jesus, charity and giving gifts to the poor etc. It’s more about a negative: essential the temporary exemption from torture for failing to give enough to the rich – i.e. the privileged elite who are effectively the tax farmers or indirect receivers who hold or benefit directly from official office in every civilisation (or the licensed monopoly financial brokers, and money and credit printers – amounts to the same thing).

    The Christmas tradition started in an era when being rich was to be, virtually by definition, a powerful person who was beyond the reach of justice and could act with impunity. We should celebrate this, especially as there are so many examples to observe today.

  22. Christmas is snow for me, mountains and skiing. When my wife and I experienced our first Christmas together we went to her parents. Her father read Luke for us, about the star, and manger, and wisemen. I did not find it cuddly. But, I do like A Charlie Brown Christmas.

  23. @OP The argument for ‘yes’ is simply that it is a Christian festival (‘Christ’ ‘mass’ being the first clue, Sherlock…). It celebrates a Bible story, an erroneous religious belief, something we atheists obviously reject.

    These things are just made up names Xtians have stuck on to the mid-winter festival.

    Not really surprising, as the whole story of a “virgin birth”, the supposed date, time of year, wise men, etc. have no historical basis beyond some copying of earlier myths – and were all it seems, made up decades or centuries after supposed mythical events, even before the various other “pagan” and commercial features were assimilated and included to continue the process.

  24. I live in country where islam is dominant religion. I’m anti-Ramadan because bad atmosphere.
    But I always liked pre-Christmas, Christmas and New Year atmosphere just because of that connection between the people. I always watched a christmas movies. There are really good :D
    Of course I know that background of this (and similar) holiday is bullshit.

  25. Christmas used to bother me with all it’s religious connotations and unavoidable propaganda, I would strictly refuse to listen to carols and recognize it purely as the winter solstice. But over the years It’s become less and less meaningful and more and more obviously hypocritical.

    We still mark our calendars by the supposed birth of the christian messiah, we still name our months after Roman gods and emperors and our days of the weeks after Norse gods.
    We still shout out “for god’s sake” and jesus christ” when we’re frustrated.
    And as previously alluded to, the supposedly Christian festival is chock full of pagan ritual and tradition, along with Easter, which is even still NAMED after it’s pagan roots.

    So today, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’ll ‘celebrate’ it in as much as I would celebrate any festivity and I’ll partake in whatever ‘traditions’ I feel like, and I’ll call it whatever I feel like calling it, which is usually just ‘Christmas’. Although I will still avoid mentioning any religious myths personally, with the exception of a few Christian carols slipping out when I’ve got into the spirit of things, or just into the bottle of spirits.

    Thankfully my partner and I both have, for the majority, non-religious (but not outwardly atheistic) families who still celebrate Christmas. Christmas day this year will be spent with my partners family, with a tradition dinner. My contribution will be a home make chocolate Yule log.

    I don’t care much for consumerism, so presents will be mostly home made spiced rum truffles, with the odd special gift for the special people in my life.

  26. So : what are your thoughts on all this? Are any of you anti-Christmas

    Yes every year we celebrate anti-xmas and newyear, we listen to anti-xmas carols and celebrate the birth of the anti-x… no wait… not the last one ;)

    Seriously there is nothing wrong with celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, in fact if you’re lucky, you have something to celebrate. It’s a good time to reflect, make new plans, tell those who help you achieve your goals and enjoy your life that they matter to you.

    The way i see it their xmas just happens during my end of year celebrations.

  27. As others have pointed out this celebration was not always christian. And while I by no means subscribe to pretensions of divinity, rising from the dead and such I have no problem celebrating the memory of a guy who was nailed to a bit of wood (possibly) for saying “Lets be nice to one another for a change” (amidst all the other bollocks he may have spouted).

    Besides, hasn’t Satan Claus taken over this franchise pretty much?

  28. When I was a young fresh atheist, I had a hard time reconciling Christmas with my new-found non-belief. But as I learned more and started to see the world more clearly, I realized that Christmas only slightly belongs to Christians, and mostly belongs to the world. I find no conflict with celebrating a day named for a deified Jewish carpenter than I do for a day named for a Greek god of time, or a Norse god with a big hammer and block buster movie.

    I love the season. I love most of the songs (“Silent Night” – especially the story of the song – is my all time favorite). I love the smells, the parties, the time with family, the elevation of the poor and needy, the focus on the importance of children, and the re-awakening of the child-like spirit in us.

    And as much as I know better – firmly positively know better – I, from time to time, think I hear sleigh bells overhead on Christmas Eve.

    Have a cool yule, happy holidays, and merry Christmas.

  29. Christian festival or not. Atheism is not a belief system and it does not come with a set of rules on what to do and what not to do.

    You say you like Christmas, then go celebrate and have fun. Merry X-mas here from Denmark :)

  30. I think Christmas has grown beyond the bounds of it’s true religious and false christian origins. It’s become very cultural, A lot of the christmas images we see in popular culture are actually very recent. I like Christmas, I see it as a time to celebrate the passing of another year, to spend time with friends and family whom you don’t normally get to see and to spoil the kids rotten, just so you can see them really, really happy at least once a year. There’s a lot of christmas that doesn’t make sense – sending cards to people you see every day for one, they’re great for writing a letter on to tell people about your year if you don’t see them any more but cards for everyone? I’m a bit meh! about that.

  31. Christmas is not about Christianity, it’s about consumerism. While many Christians use it for their political agenda it has nothing to do with them. I find it annoying, but if you like it you don’t have to atone for anything or express regret.

  32. I grew up in a rather religion-less household and my father once called Christmas “generic,” when I’d asked him why we celebrate it but don’t attend church. We have some religious relatives who celebrate Christmas and it just seems like something everyone in the family does, so when it comes down to it, it’s an excuse to get together and party.

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