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I identify as agnostic but I can’t imagine not celebrating Christmas. I don’t feel like a hypocrite or a fake. It’s a opportunity when most of the family is available to get together, so we do. We observe all of the traditions except the “voodoo”. We use the term “Merry Christmas”. I think we are among the majority of North Americans and Western Europeans? Thoughts?

Is my example typical for North American and Western European families?

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  • 9 votes
Garban 8 Feb 23
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36 comments

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12

I was born into a non-believing family who identified as freethinkers…we always celebrated Christmas by exchanging presents, we sent Xmas cards, we hung up our stockings and Santa came when we were children. We have Turkey for Christmas dinner followed by Christmas pudding on the 25th. As I’ve always been a keen singer…I’ve always sung Carols too and still do with my choir. The only thing we didn’t/don’t do was/is go to church and worship God or baby Jesus.

I don’t think it’s hypocritical to celebrate Christmas or think I have to call it Yule or Winter Solstice or any other name. It’s a national and international holiday around the world and called Christmas…people of all religions and none call it that, not just Christians so why want to call it something else. I’m not a practicing Pagan or a member of any Wiccan group so see no necessity to follow any of their solstice practices or use their terminology. But why would I want to miss out on the fun and celebrating…you don’t have to buy into all the details, especially the religious ones to do that do you?

Sounds like a wise and happy family

11

Why not celebrate a holiday of caring and love forget the religious bull

bobwjr Level 10 Feb 23, 2022
10

So many holidays around the winter solstice, can take your pick as you like. I know that I celebrate any holiday that feeds me, cultural learning is fun.

It is fun!

9

I haven't put up tree or decorated in decades. Definitely a benefit of living alone.

I play along with the people I care about.

7

I don't think Christmas has really been a religious holiday for a long, long time.

A commercial holiday? The day after TG isn’t called Black Friday for nothing?

7

I have celebrated the winter solstice since reaching a state of atheism more than 30 years ago. As a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, I understand why the pagans developed all the ways to make the dark days cheerier and I use them to get through it, just like they did. I decorate with lights and other bright ornaments and greenery, but there are no rituals or affiliations observed. Personally as the daughter of a Lutheran minister, I think religious people especially Christians who celebrate it are fake because the holiday was usurped by early church to win pagans over and strict believers know it’s still pagan holiday.

7

I cannot speak for "North American and Western European families." All I know is that the commercialism of Christmas, the rank consumerism, the religious overtones, freighted as they are with hypocrisy and chauvinism, make me sick to my stomach.

6

Hmmm…. I don’t know if it’s typical but I agree with your sentiment.

5

We celebrate the solstice, which pretty much coincides with xmas. We celebrate what, as the billboards say, is "the reason for the season". 😉

I’ve noticed quite a few members celebrate the solstice as a secular type community thing. I’m intrigued. I need to research.

@Garban Quite a few of the traditions come from Yule, one of the Germanic (I think) pagan solstice celebrations.

5

Mostly true except we don't say merrry christmas. We say happy holidays.

same here.

5

Winter festivals predate Christianity by millennia. The fact that when we celebrate ours we us the word "Christmas" no more means I believe in the divinity of Christ than using the word Tuesday means I believe in Týr, the god of single combat, and law and justice in Norse mythology.

4

Since the Christmas celebration predates Christianity anyway there's not much to feel guilty about. Little almost nothing in Christianity was truly original but recycled myths and celebrations Christianised with their death-cultism.

4

I did decorate and do full on the traditions of the tree and giftgasm gloria when the kids were young.
I have only occasionally done a tree since then. But I see that as more of a Pagan thing corrupted by the Christians.
I did buy a wreath this year. I purchased it from a family tree lot and it lasted so long that I put some Valentine hearts on it because it amused me. I just released the boughs from the metal loop and returned them to a spot on the ground in some adjacent woods just the other day.
Over the past several years have usually worked December 25th because it holds no personal emotional impact. And I know it does for most other people. Plus the day is usually paid impressive overtime.

This continues with grandchildren.

3

I celebrate the Winter Solstice. It is an ancient celebration tied to the agricultural way of life in the past. It is one of the main reasons xmas is at the time it is. It is a couple of days prior to xmas. I have a Solstice tree, Solstice decorations, you can buy Solstice cards to send if you wish, give Solstice gifts and I have a very nice Solstice meal for my family.

3

I am atheist as is my son, my other son ( previously my daughter) is non denominational Christian and my wife and our adopted daughter ( my niece) and her wife are all pagan/druid (My wife married them in a bespoke hand-fasting) so we tend to call the festivities Yule rather than Christmas, but basically it is a family feast, drinking a bit more than normal and a celebration of family love and respect, the high spot for me is getting to cook a goose.

Fascinating! I have never, that I know of, met a Pagan . What little I do know is from “Survive the Jive”, “Religion for Breakfast” and “Let’s Talk Religion “ on YouTube. My limited exposure makes me think they enjoy the ritual more than the dogma? They’re more interested in connecting with their past than spiritual enlightenment? These are wild generations I’m sure there’s diversity?

3

Yes, your example is typical. The difference for me is that I live alone and could not give a flying truck about Christmas. I once had a girlfriend that said I should pretend, have a tree and presents anyway, etc. This would only be done if I was again in a family living situation.

3

Christmas would always be a time to share with family and friends, I can't think of it as a religious inclined day but it's sure a beautiful time.

3

Nobody here can seriously opine on behalf of all families in two continents. I can give an idea of how my family acts during the holidays, eat, drink and be merry, while giving out presents, my immediate family knows that I am not a believer so nobody actually says anything to me that resembles religion B's, I don't use Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, because Holiday is derived from Holy, and there's nothing sacred about that season. When people all around me repeat like robots these well meaning but idiotic words, all I say is "same to you."

2

I don't disrespect traditional, cultural "habits" although it is most likely that they have religious roots. If they give you good opportunities to do good things like getting together with your friends and family, why not?

Ryo1 Level 7 Feb 23, 2022
2

When it comes to holidays, people tend to say many things, but the strictest guards of holiday tradition also tend to be the most full of #$%^. I've never yet come across a pusher of all things Merry that was not a disgruntled and miserable jackwagon.

Illuminating hypocrisy used to be my way of dealing with it. But I've since learned that it seems less about principals than it is about the adult reality never really recapturing the magic of holidays as a child. The trap of nostalgia strikes again.

Once you come to terms with the fact that there is no reliving the holidays of your childhood, it becomes easier to make peace and fill it all in with whatever works for you. Which is why I am not bothered by seeing Merry Christmas adorning storefronts. It just all becomes part of the season.

2

I was raised in a Catholic country and my mother believes in God. At that time, I celebrated and loved Christmas. Now, I don't care anymore. I admit I would spend Christmas with my mother and brothers if I'd get the chance as it was always a family thing. As I live on my own, I much rather spend that day on my own, for my own peace of mind.

I spent xmas with an old friend and his family all of whom are religious. There was no talk of religion nor was there any religious pictures or icons and no apparent evidence of their relgious beliefs. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time with them.

@ASTRALMAX, whenever I spent Christmas with my family or friends, religion was never discussed as well. It was enjoyable, just like in your case. I remember my older brother when was with the JW's to come to our place with her wife at the time and my nephew and have lunch. It was great fun. I miss these little things, not exactly Christmas per se.

2

I believe the holiday of "Christmas" is predated by other celebrations that occurred at this same time of year and contain many of the same traditions that the Christmas holiday adopted. The fact the the name got changed fo Christmas is inconsequential. What real significance does setting up an evergreen in our homes and decorating it have to Christianity? That Christians may have assigned significance is again inconsequencial. So, why should you or anyone else who leaves Christianity behind have to abandon traditions and celebrations that predated Christianity? Rather, do what the Christians did ages ago and reformulate the holiday to suit your current needs and desires. As much as Christians would like to believe otherwise, they don't own the holiday - they didn't invent it, they only adopted it and reformulated it for their needs and desires. I believe there are probably far more fundamentalist Christians in America who refuse to celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins than non-Christians who don't because of its association with Christianity.

What applies to Christmas in that regard could just as easily apply to Christianity.

@skado - Could you expound on your comment a bit?

@RussRAB
By the same token, Christians don’t own Christianity. They adopted and adapted their practice from practices that went before.

Religion evolves very much as animals do.

Anyone who has the power to reform Christmas to their taste has equal power to reform Christianity.

@skado - That's an interesting idea. I have wondered about just how much a religion - Christianity in particular - could be changed until it was no longer Christianity, or Christian in name only. Coming out of Mormonism, lots of fundamentalist Christians say Mormons aren't Christians, and plenty of ex-Mormons will agree. Fundamentalists may also say lots of other Christians aren't - like Catholics. I used to laugh to myself when some Christians would claim that Christianity was the one true religion because more people on earth were Chtistians, and then in the next breath would claims Catholics are not Christians therefore disavowing the Christian status of more than half of all Christians on earth.

More on point, I would agree that religions evolve. We have lots of examples as we have thousands of sects and denominations just within Christianity. But all of these - or at least the majority of them - share some basic tenets of belief. Would it still be Christianity if someone decided that Jesus was not the Messiah?

@RussRAB
To me, it doesn’t matter what it is called as long as it is functioning adaptively. If it goes too long without being reformed it can become maladaptive - which is where we’re at today.

2

I used to celebrate Christmas a lot more than I do now.
Now it seems like a huge burden.
Putting up decorations, buying gifts for relatives who already have everything. Buying gifts for my girlfriend.
What has really bothered me in recent years is that some of the radio stations I enjoy listening to switch over to Christmas Music during the months of November and December. I can't wait until Dec 26th when they switch back to their normal programming.

BD66 Level 8 Feb 23, 2022

I actually like the Christmas music. I know, weird.

@Sookiesue Nothing weird about that at all!

@Sookiesue - I do too. One of the stations I like starts transitioning to Christmas music around Thanksgiving and eventually plays nothing else. Along with traditional Christmas carols, they play plenty winter songs like Frosty the Snowman, Let It Snow, White Chrismas, and Grandma Got Ran Over By A Raindeer.

@Sookiesue I have been a musician for most of my life (and I am 70). The problem with xmas music is that is overplayed to the point of nausea. At my age I now hate the seasonal music because it has been overplayed. Its overplaying kills what ever enjoyment that music might have once had. I like lots of other styles of music. But if they were overplayed to the extent which xmas music is, I would likely hate them as well.

2

I say 'Merry Christmas' to people who celebrate it. I don't decorate my home, but I give gifts to people because it's obligatory. I truly wish Christmas would go away, but it won't. Bah Humbug! I refuse to vote in polls like this. Yes or No to a non self serving statement or else I move on.

1

Thank you everyone for your contributions! I’ve learned much but especially @LenHazzell53 and @zeuser that I what I was practicing was not Christmas. What my family has actually been doing is MUCH more in line with a family “Yule” tradition. Now I’m intrigued by a community “Yule”.

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