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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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Garban 8 Feb 23

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36 comments (26 - 36)

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Christmas in America isn't really about the birth of an imaginary person and books of fantastical fiction. Christmas, like everything else in America, is about capitalism.

So it matters not what you actually believe or don't.


It's just a reason for a party. Call it whatever you want, does it really matter?

Betty Level 8 Feb 23, 2022

How would anyone answer this question without living all over the country as well as all over western Europe?! They can guess I suppose??
I will say this, prior to joining this site I have only ever met one atheist besides myself. If my sample in indicative of the rest of the US, you are a minority? 🤔

Buck Level 7 Feb 23, 2022

Take care of an elderly parent that likes Christmas and will put up with the religious part for the sake of getting family together, the older she gets, the harder it is to keep her views to herself and will end up fighting with my super-religious older sister. We were all raised Athiest from day one but my sister admitted to a "status benefit" to joining a church after college but now denies she ever said that.


I like Christmas time. It's an excuse for people, who are otherwise not very nice, to be nice to other people. The days are starting to get longer, and most everybody is happy. What's not to like.


We may be Atheists, but we still like a party.


If you think Christmas has anything to do with the Christian religion you are sorely mistaken. The holiday is taken from pagan times. Assuming that jesus was real, according to biblical scholars he was born in 4BCE. Many religions have their "saviour" born on 25th December of a virgin. There has always been a mid winter festival, probably to keep people happy and to look forward to spring and the warmer weather.


I tossed every Xmas decor in my home years ago. However my sister is a Christmas decor hourder with a vomiting account of yard decor. I do to the partys, I exchange gifts. I drink the beer and enjoy their cheer. However I've witnessed none of them go to church and no praying takes place. They just repeat was they was taught. They know where I stand though. It all seems so ridiculous to me but who am I to take away from what seems like joy to them


It is a bizarre phenomenon that agnostics and atheists alike justify by giving every reason imaginable.

Why would atheists leaving religion would stick to meaningless traditions created by religion is beyond me. I call them atheists by convenience.

As far as you question “ Why would atheists leaving religion would stick to meaningless traditions created by religion” I would mimic @Betty answer below as a reply. PARTY TIME.
I think observing traditions is fine as long as it’s an inclusive celebration without an agenda to indoctrinate.
A world with no traditional observation seems kind of bleak. Like living with the Borg?


Celebrating other's peoples traditions is what the Christians did. Renaming a Pagan festival as Christmas.

If you want to do it, you will find every justification out there or create new. To me, leaving religion means, leaving everything about religion. Being atheist is not about picking and choosing. It's like saying I don't like Jesus but I believe in Mary.

Create your own happiness, gather any time, you don't need a holiday. Christmas gift giving is yet another. In my and extended family, we gave and received gifts any time we wanted or felt like it. We did not even call it gifts. Those were things we gave or received with love. We said "he bought this thing last year." There was never 'holiday gift giving.'

If you have a clear mind about what you believe in, you have clear thinking, unclouded mind. If not, you are in between and will find every excuse there is to justify. No matter where you are, enjoy your bliss.

There is a lot of half baked atheists even on this site. They celebrate Christmas lights, Christmas tree, they continue gift giving, accept all symbolism, go to church and say I go for other reasons, will say I am not racist until a daughter starts dating one. These have not left religion and all bigotry, narrow mindness, fear that religion gave us in the name of god. If you are continuing any of these, your are religious. Religion is not just about church going or continuing traditions in life but it is about what your identity is now, who you are, how are you conducting yourself. It is about your whole belief system.

@St-Sinner I especially like your sentiment about giving because I want to give. Those “just because I said so” gifts are remembered longer.

@St-Sinner I agree with some of what you say. I disagree with the notion that anything that was adopted by religion makes one religious. I have morals and values that religion claim as theirs, it doesn't make me religious.

As far as I'm concerned religion of all kinds have appropriated traditions and celebrations from existing cultures and society to grow their numbers, not the other way around.

In my circle of family and friends a holiday was an opportunity to come together and celebrate and be with each other. If in your opinion that make me religious, then fine. It is not my opinion.

@St-Sinner, @Garban I like that too. Celebrating a holiday doesn't mean "just because" but an opportunity. Time off from work to allow travel that otherwise could not happen is the convenience of a holiday. It just makes it easier to get family and friends that may need to travel in one place for the party.


A book written by Carl Sagan's daughter referencing this topic.


Right now it seems the pandemic and the Republican Party are dividing families and friends and this trend may change (for people like us, for the better).

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