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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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”.