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Is it hypocritical for me, as an atheist, to celebrate religious holidays?

Family is very important to me, so, though I don’t believe in some all-seeing, all-knowing magic being, I still enjoy spending time with family, sharing different food dishes, and exchanging gifts in the case of Christmas. Religious holidays are the perfect time for me to do that as most of my family are religous, to varying degrees, and I have the major holidays off from work. Is it hypocritical for me to celebrate or is it ok to just look at it as a social gathering?

Leeshi 7 Apr 16

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I don't think it is hypocritical. I still put up a tree every year. I even still call it a "Christmas" tree and say, "Merry Christmas" when someone says it to me. The only thing that has changed since becoming a non-believer is that when I decorate, there are no 'religious elements.' I got rid of the crèches and Baby Jesuses and instead have Krampuses and Santa Clauses. I love the holidays. I get to be around my family and friends, eat fabulous food, and buy all my loved ones gifts. It isn't like Xtians have exclusive rights to the holidays. In fact, most of them were hijacked from the pagans. Of course, they don't like to readily admit to that, but that is a story for another day.

This is a bit off topic, but speaking of Krampus, there’s a Krampus themed haunted house not too far from me right around Christmas. It’s amazing.

@Leeshi Awesome! I'd like to see that!



Your fine, I do the same but try my best to educate people on the real origins of most Christian holidays.

Do you do this on the holiday and, if so, do people get upset with you for trying to discuss it then?

@Leeshi Most are so brainwashed that they listen but it’s going in one ear and straight out the other

Oh well, at least you make an effort to share your knowledge. You must be doing so in a respectful way, too, if people aren’t getting offended. If they choose continue to ignore facts, there’s not much you can do about it other than politely disagree.


Most holidays are secular marketing festivals anyway.

That is the best user name I've seen on here yet!

@tnorman1236 Hah! Thank you!


It depends how you celebrate.

If your celebration is a 'religious celebration' then why would you as an atheist?

Yet if you're just 'enjoying a day off' then how is that hypocritical? Do you need less time off than religious folk?

It’s more that my family is religious and I am attending the family gatherings that they hold. They are celebrating the birth or resurrection of Christ, etc, but I am going to spend time with people I love. Does it become hypocritical due to the fact that I am joining the gathering for a different reason than it is intended? Also, I don a pretty sweet Star Wars Ugly Christmas Sweater that I’m not quite ready to give up

No Leeshi - spending time with your family is an act of caring, and love. That cannot be wrong ... ☺


Ask yourself this.... Is it hypocritical of Christianity to stomp out other belief systems then take their celebrations and turn them into Christian Holy days? Can you imagine a pine tree in the Middle East? If one showed up, it would have been burned to cook a rabbit that laid eggs in honor of someone nailed to a tree on apparently adjustable dates.

I agree that there is an inordinately large amount of hypocritical Christians. However, their hypocrisy doesn’t make it ok for me to be a hypocrite. It would just give them more ammo (granted not very effective ammo) for why what they’re doing is ok.

Ignore the hypocrisy and enjoy a day for the reasons that make you feel good. I celebrate certain holidays when I am with family, but when alone, they are just another day.


If you're having fun with your family you are just taking advantage of a situation when all your family are together. it's just logical. it's a damn shame people need fairy tales to get their family together but what can you do.

Personally, I’d rather celebrate Zeus and Hera. Everyone could wear togas and throw lighting bolts at their annoying relatives...

I prefer the HULK


No, they stole it first


Owh, is that a film based on the Neil Gaiman book? Cool.

TV show not a movie but based on Gaiman's graphic novel yes it's pretty good actually ??


I don't think so. Depends on how you look at it? Are you 'celebrating' the same way that people of faith are? Or are you enjoying the secularized parts of the holiday, with no religions influence?

Some may say otherwise, but I say celebrate each day - and when the opportunity to enjoy time together comes around, do so.

I am enjoying the secular aspects of the holidays. I don’t pray over the Easter ham, go to church to get a dirt cross on my forehead, or read the scriptures aloud as a group. Some of my family are doing that, though. I’m just there to spend time with those I love, break bread, and enjoy myself.


Not at all. As an atheist you can celebrate Christmas every day! Christmas is whatever you want it to be.

I like the sound of that! Now, if only my boss would accept my need for “religious holidays” 60 days out of the year ?


We need to review the meaning of “celebrate” . Of course it is not just taking the day off to enjoy what you really like. Celebrate to me is to participate in the meaning, tradition, acts, gatherings of certain event thst happened time ago and we agreed as a “nation” to designate a day of the year. If you are atheist for sure you won’t cekebrate Christmas as it “should be”. Instead you can opt to have a secular event (astronomical, humanitarian etc).

MY definition of celebrate is: acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity. So, as an atheist, I DO celebrate Christmas. Not as the "birth of Christ," but rather a time to be with loved ones and "make merry." Much like birthdays. Or Thanksgiving. Or Earth Day. Religon doesn't have a monopoly on how one decides to celebrate/observe a holiday. Of course, that is just ME. ?


That’s why I’m not an atheist. I get really sick of being told I can’t say things like “bless you” if someone sneezes, or that I’m not allowed to capitalize god if it’s a proper noun, that acknowledging there’s evidence of an historical Jesus is verboten, and this: celebrating holidays is somehow hypocritical. The holidays means what they mean because WE made them up. And they were made up at times of celebration. Christmas, a festival of light in the darkest time of the year. I absolutely celebrate Christmas, and Halloween, July 4, and Veterans and Memorial days... and if I get a day off from work, all the better.

I'm an atheist, and I still say, "bless you" when someone sneezes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.


Seriously dude you're fine. You're not pretending to be anything you're not. You're just respecting long held customs. It's not like God's going to be mad at you for turning up to his party uninvited. "Yeah yeah I'm a mate of Dave's"

Hahahaha! It would suck so bad if God had me escorted from the premises


For some,a holiday isn't about the religious aspect but the whole spending time with family and good feelings thing.



I don't think its hypocritical if you know what you are doing and why. I wouldnt hesitate to support any of my family in anything htey wanted to do because Its just a meeting of friendship and we all have so many different ways of showing our love and understanding. i think there is a core set of values within me that I adhere to and as long as I am not required to break them I feel Okay, I don't have to buy into the meanings of what I am doing I am onnly required to be part of hte ritual - Its Ok .

Thank you


I often think about this.
I have 4 children and do easter and christmas.
oddly I don't involve any abrahamic things at all in regards to jesus.
It really is just Santa and the easter bunny, Its a weird thing to do but its fun and in a total non religious way.
Now when my children ask me about the bible I explain there are many religions and this is just one of them so explore them all and question everything.
I also explain holiday traditions are a mix from many differant cultures.

Parenting done right! Teaching tolerance and acceptance of others


It's fine. When we leave the religion we can also leave the guilt. Atheism for me is a "freeing experience". I'm not going to now feel guilty and restricted for doing what I like, in the name of Atheism. Enjoy the holidays


Do not think it is violating lol. It brings people together that you have not seen in a long time. Gives cause to celebrate life.


Most Christians don't celebrate on these days . Most just give presents and stay at home with relatives and never see a church nope you are not doing anything wrong


Just look up the pagan origins of Every xian holiday! Then enjoy the Solstice, or whatever, as you please.


I don't think so. Sometimes it's a matter of fitting into the culture at large and respecting their ways. It doesn't mean you have to participate in all the rituals or whatever feels too wrong.


Have to remember that many of those holidays are rooted in much older celebrations and taken over as religious events. Christmas is based on celebrating the winter solstice well before 3 wise guys showed up in a manger.


Gift giving, caroling, evergreen trees, eggs, rabbits, etc aren't even christian in origin in fact I'd wager most people don't think all too much about the jesus aspect then celebrating. (Look up the pagan festivals of Yule and Saturnalia). It's also not like you're giving praise to pagan gods either.


I make it clear that I am not celebrating a religious holiday but a secular one. I send people Yuletide or Midwinter Festival greetings instead of Christmas ones and make a point of telling people that Easter is a pagan fertility festival which is why we have eggs and bunnies. I think it is good to celebrate the passing of the seasons and other events so we need never feel guilty about joining in - we just do it for a different reason.


If someone invites you to a Christmas party serving food and stand under the Mistletoe.​


Wrong or impossible to celebrate the holiday, but not to party on the day.

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