An Atheist loves Christmas

In my last post I explained why I don’t like New Year’s Eve: my friends want me to do things I don’t like, I have no sentimental relationship with the idea of New Year and my absolute closest friends prove themselves to be “monumentally selfish”. But I also said that I do have a sentimental place for Christmas, so what’s all that about?

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From the “I fucking love science” Facebook group

To me, Christmas is not a religious event. If you pick the right periods of history, obviously it was a religious event (after it was the Winter Solstice), and for many people it is still a religious event. But for me it is a cultural event and it is a family event. It’s an opportunity to see my grandma once more per year. It’s an excuse to hang out with my many cousins. It’s a chance to get to know the distant relatives from my stepdad’s family (and that family is Hindu if it’s religious at all).

For those that argue that I shouldn’t have a Christmas like this, and that Christmas is primarily religious, I ask you about the following things: Santa Claus, the Coca Cola advert, reindeer, roast turkey, Christmas cards and bringing a pine tree into the house. Even the idea of giving and receiving presents doesn’t really make sense if we’re celebrating someone else’s birthday (albeit, nearly 4 months late). For those that think Christmas should be a Christian event only, tough. I refuse to be forced out of a cultural tradition that I like.

Even though Christianity birthed Christmas, it is a cultural holiday. But it is called “Christmas”. “’Tis the Season” and “Happy Holidays” are fine things to say, but calling it the “Winter Solstice” is intentionally obtuse. There’s a page on Facebook called “I fucking love science”, and they posted a picture that said “let’s all get drunk and celebrate the Earth’s axial tilt this season!” I hope this was intended as sarcasm to present the same thing that I feel: not calling it Christmas is sucking the joy out of it.

It is Christmas. It is cultural. It is about family. And you can make it as religious as you want in your house.

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2 thoughts on “An Atheist loves Christmas”

  1. I love science too, so we know that winter is none of the superstitious things we used to think. In fact we know it is due to the axial tilt of the planet. Just as we have changed in other ways, there is no reason to not start a new tradition, even if it is on top of previous traditions.

    1. Jesus was most likely born in August (if at all). But if we pretend there is no significant history to our traditions we are just celebrating random dates on a calendar.
      I like the entire history of winter: the solstice, the feast of all the food that is about to turn since the last harvest, the hi-jacking of that festival to celebrate the birth of a person, which happened at an entirely different time, to the cultural landmark it is today.

      But the Winter Solstice was hijacked for something: Christmas. To hijack it again to add nothing, just to remove superstitions that don’t have to affect our celebration, seems obtuse.

      Most of the celebration is already non-religious.

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