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SuperMouse's avatar

Atheists, do you celebrate any of the December holidays?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) December 12th, 2011

Do you celebrate any of the traditionally religious holidays in December? If yes how do you celebrate them?

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56 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I participate, yes, because everyone else does, and I’m not going to be the douchebag that offends everyone to make a political statement lol. I just like to be around people.

whitenoise's avatar

Yes… sinterklaas… Christmas… New Years Eve

But, then again… In daily life I claim to be a Christian… So how about that for hypocrisy?

Leanne1986's avatar

I’m a theist but I avoid most celebrations around the Christmas period. I visit family because I feel I have to but other than that I lay low. If my work place was open over Christmas I would work straight through and, although I buy presents for others (again, because it’s the “done” thing to do) I encourage others not to buy for me or to give to my favourite charity instead. Most of my atheist friends get very excited about Christmas!

flutherother's avatar

I celebrate Christmas but not in a religious way. The late night service can be nice though I seldom go.

Aster's avatar

They sure do!!!!!!! Why? “Because it’s fun and I like the food.” lol

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t celebrate them religiously. I do eat fruitcake and suck candy canes. I’ll often order Chinese food on Christmas day, and sometimes see a movie that day as well.

talljasperman's avatar

I like the pretty lights and I enjoy some Egg Nog but I don’t give presents or sing anymore…

JLeslie's avatar

Yes.

I celebrate Chanukah because I am Jewish (@whitenoise, Jewish people see no hypocrisy in it, I personally think Christians can do it too). I just light the candles on the menorah if I am home in the evening. One night I usually pull out my Chanukah dishes and make potato latkas and a nice meal. Once in a blue moon we do a gift for Chanukah, but not regularly. If I had kids I would give them gifts. I also give chocolate money to some of my Jewish friends and family members if I see them just before or on the holiday.

I celebrate Christmas with my husband’s family if we are in town for the holiday. We have a big dinner and open gifts. If we are not with family for Christmas we will join friends if we are invited. If it is just my husband and I at home I make a coupe of the traditional dishes his mom makes for dinner, and just hang out at home like most nights, but it always feels very boring to me, and I also worry it is very anticlimatic for my husband who had magical Christmas’ as a young boy. When I was younger, in my 20’s I sometimes went out dancing Christmas Eve (I lived in a very Jewish city, Boca Raton, FL and they had a big “matzah ball” Christmas Eve. Leading up to the holiday I love to see the lights around town, listen to Christmas music, see Nutcracker, give little gifts to some friends and acquaintances. Also Chinese food Christmas Day.

Does New Years count for thos question? New Years can be anything to staying home and falling asleep right after the ball drops in NY, which is only 11:00 my time, to being with family, or going out. I am all over the map with New Years eve. I don’t have any specific tradition associated with it. My husband’s family has the superstition of eating 12 grapes at midnight for good luck the coming year. Some countries believe wearing yellow on New Years is good luck, I used to sell a lot of yellow underwear in December when I worked for Calvin Klein. I like those sorts of superstitions.

LuckyGuy's avatar

<—- Me standing right next to @Blackberry holding a glass of Bin 27 port.
I’ll even say: “Merry Christmas! ” I don’t believe in it, but I’ll say it if it makes other people happy.
What’s the difference?
Lightning hasn’t struck me yet.

Maybe I’m just lucky.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m agnostic and was drunk last night and put up a tree in my room. The war on Christmas is fake shit made up by Fox News. And 90% of my friends are agnostic and most of them like trees, lights, and snickerdoodles.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I visit my parents for Christmas each year and go to their Christmas gatherings, so I guess so. It’s one of the only times I can see all of my family members at the same time other than Thanksgiving. I’ve never celebrated any of the other religious holidays in December, though.

whitenoise's avatar

@JLeslie I wasn’t seriously insinuating hypocrisy in celebrating the holidays. These kinds of celebrations are part of celebrating life, no one and no religion can claim monopoly to that.

whitenoise's avatar

@johnpowell love your tree!

JLeslie's avatar

@whitenoise Oh, I know :). I didn’t take you seriously. I do think there are a lot of Christians in America who would not understand being an atheist and identifying as a Christian. But, the same Christian would understand still celebrating Christmas, because I get told all the time I can celebrate Christmas even tjough I am an atheist Jewish person.

AdamF's avatar

Pretty lights, snow, great good, making new memories for my two lovely little girls, time with family and friends I care about, fireplaces, childhood memories and sentimental music.

I love this time of year…always have.

Mariah's avatar

I celebrate “Christmas” in the sense that I get a tree and give presents and my parents told me about Santa Claus and all that jazz. But my family celebrates it as a time to be close with family and as a reason for some cheer in the middle of the dark New England winter, not as a religious holiday.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I celebrate Christmas. I usually call it Giftmas around my nonbeliever friends and family, because obviously I’m not celebrating it for religious reasons. I decorate my home, inside and out, I buy/make gifts for friends and family, I visit with loved ones, I bake a shitload of cookies. I have cooked for holidays, but this is the first year I’ll be doing a Christmas Eve meal, so that will be a new thing.

comity's avatar

What a positive attitude you all have. Good for you! Wish your attitude would rub off some members in my family! Incidentally, I’m an agnostic/atheist? and join in the holidays with all as they don’t celebrate in a religious way and, if it makes those I love happy well….........so be it!

wundayatta's avatar

We get a tree. We decorate the house. We give presents. Santa visits. We eat. We drink. We merry.

Qingu's avatar

I celebrate the solstice. I even have a little ritual. Usually while alone, I hang out in a dark room, light a candle on the floor, and stare at the candle for exactly one hour.

I also celebrate “Christmas” with my fiancée’s family though not in a remotely religious way (it is based on pagan solstice holidays, after all) and I’m pretty much a complete grinch about it the whole time.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@comity You can stand right next to @Blackberry and me and watch @ANef_is_Enuf set up her Giftmas tree. We’re pouring eggnog now.

By the way, I just don’t understand all the fuss. If it makes people happy, I’m in. No big deal. I’m a big boy and not worried that any “religion germs” will get on me. Enjoy!

Good food, good conversations, fun people, a little extra vino…. What’s not to like?

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I consider myself a “spiritualist” meaning, I subscribe to ALL great works of wisdom, eastern and western.
One does not have to be a Christian or an athiest to follow a path of wisdom. The ways of the wise.

I am also apolitical and anti-war but this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting Presidents day and Memorial day off as a holiday. Jesus was real, and his birthday, Christmas, is just his birthday, being an athiest doesn’t mean you have to reject the birthday of a wise person, nor subscribe to the Christian faith.

Jesus wasn’t responsible for any “Christian” movement, he was just Jesus, a wise man and great leader, just like MLK or Abraham Lincoln.

The Christian religion was created after his death and, I imagine, if he were alive today he would be none too happy with how convoluted his teachings have become.

Infact, it has been surmised that IF he were still alive today he wouldn’t be a ” Christian”, most likely he would be in the healing professions.

I’m pretty damn sure Jesus himself would reject the entire precept of “Christianity.”

deni's avatar

I love Christmas! I don’t believe in God, but lets be honest, even most Christians who celebrate Christmas really don’t incorporate almost anything religious into the holiday. For me, I take the day to enjoy myself, eat cookies, and appreciate my family (none of which I’ll be with this year. Sniffle) Fuck yeah I wanna big tree in my house covered with popcorn and shit. Of course I want cookies out the wazoo. I don’t need the gift aspect of it….after age, 16, I’d say, it’s not as exciting anyhow. It was more fun when you were little and opening toys. Anyhow, the point is I love Christmas.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Hell yes! I am all about Christmas! Tree(s), decorations, airport runs, family, friends, feasts, cooking, baking, drinking, clogged toilets, music, gifts, old traditions, new traditions, late nights, relatives sleeping on the floor, the fireplace working overtime, and just the general merrymaking that comes with it all, phew!

This year we’ve got both sides of our family (believers and non alike, we don’t leave anyone out!) coming over for Christmas eve/day which was something of a last minute surprise. Some are staying in the area from out of town so we’ll be spending some post-holiday time with them too. We’ve also got a close friend who won’t be able to make her family gathering staying with us from the 23rd to the something-th.

Oh and I say “Merry Christmas” copiously.

Basically, it incorporates the same stuff a lot of other people do, just minus the religious aspects.

tko7800's avatar

I still celebrate Christmas mainly because it gives me a chance to be around members of my family who I just don’t see enough otherwise. I of course could care less about the religious aspect of it, but if my family wants to say a prayer before eating then I respect that. Even when I was a believer though, it was far less about the birth of baby Jesus than about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Rudolph and so forth.

whitenoise's avatar

@Qingu
Since you’re a Grinch celebrating Christmas as the winter solstice celebration it was in pageant times, are you then the Grinch that stole back Christmas?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Seriously, what has the commercialised, consumerist, drink fueled, glutony fest that is the western christmas have to do with religion anymore?

tko7800's avatar

@whitenoise Just curious, but why do you still claim to be a Christian when you are an atheist?

@Coloma There’s actually a good case to be made that Jesus never even existed. Check out the documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There” if you haven’t already.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I think Jesus would be a nice Jewish guy who calls himself spiritual.

@tko7800 my father recently was telling me a friend of his told him about a book or article that supposedly demonstrated Jesus never existed. I think Christians would not care if there was some sort of proof Jesus never existed.

bkcunningham's avatar

I know it is something that you have heard before, but if Jesus was just a nice Jewish guy who called himself spiritual, He was also insane and/or a liar because of the claims He made.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham What exactly do you mean?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Christmas. My whole family celebrates it and like @Blackberry I’m not going to be the douche to make a statement. Its not like Christmas is even a religious holiday anymore anyway. Its a capitalist holiday now.

tko7800's avatar

@JLeslie I wouldn’t say they don’t care, but more like it would be almost impossible to change their views no matter what evidence you have on your side. I think the way some fundamentalists deny evolution is a good example of that. However, what films like that can do is sway people who are on the fence.

SavoirFaire's avatar

For @Coloma:

“The very word ‘Christianity’ is a misunderstanding—in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche

I know this question is about religious holidays, but I would like to mention that my favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve. I appreciate the underlying notion of “we’re all in this together, so let’s see what we can do about putting aside old differences and moving forward.” A bit optimistic, yes—but good to remember nonetheless.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

None of the religious ones, no. I celebrate New Year’s which is thankfully not tied to religion.

JLeslie's avatar

@tko7800 Ok, I’ll go with your wording. I have no reason to try to prove Jesus didn’t exist, don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to reinforce that idea or convince anyone of that. Jesus and God and faith in either are no problem for me. Following a religion or religious leader without thinking for oneself, or believing everything written down from 5,000 or 2,000 years ago is accurate to the letter after translations and interpretations and changing times is what I question.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets, who had told that a Savior would one day appear. He claimed to fulfill the ceremonial law, by becoming the great sacrifice for our sin as represented in all the Old Testament offerings. He claimed that He came to fulfill the moral law, by yielding to it a perfect obedience, which we could never have yielded – and by paying the penalty for our breaking of it with His atoning blood, which we could never have paid.

He was either what He claimed to be, a liar or a nut.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I see, thanks for explaining. A third explanation is the people who wrote about him made up and/or exaggerated what he said. I don’t think Jesus was able to read what was written and edit the biography. He might have been a nut, but either way I think he had good intentions, I believe he did not want to harm, but to love, and for others to care and love each other. That is how I like to think about it anyway.

bkcunningham's avatar

Jesus knew the Law said His biography was written there. Of course, because of that, He did read his own biography.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I don’t understand what you wrote. I thought the bible was written several years after Jesus died.

Response moderated
bkcunningham's avatar

What Christians call the Old Testament, @JLeslie, is the Hebrew Bible. Edit: I don’t know how familiar you are with the Christian Bible, so I wanted to add that it is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The New Testament is, very basically, the part after Christ.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I know what the old testament is. Christians basically ditch it for the new testament, which is supposed to represent Christ’s teachings and updates to the old book.

Coloma's avatar

Bottom line, who knows?
Everyone is free to do what works for them.
From all my lengthy studies over the years, all I know for certain is that wisdom, regardless of source, still has value in our world.

Really, most of what is considered religious wisdom is simply healthy psychology and a good recipe for living with as little suffering as possible.

Note: I said MOST, certainly not all, and certainly not any true wisdom that has been distorted by human hypothesis

Now, if you’ll all excuse me I have to go hang the Jingle Bells on the corral gate and hit the local winery for some holiday “spirits” ;-)

comity's avatar

Hey, One of the reasons I became an atheist/agnostic is not being sure whether there is a god, and also I felt religion separated people, caused prejudice towards one another, a lack of acceptance for one another’s beliefs, etc. Not amongst Atheists, right?

Paradox25's avatar

I’m a theist but I’m about as religious as Richard Dawkins. Christmas really doesn’t have the same meaning to me anymore since most of those that I used to celebrate it with have either passed away or went their own way in life. I see it as a chance to get together with the few people that I am close too yet.

Most Christians that I know of are really into the social and materialist aspects of the holiday rather than the religious reasons anyways. In a sense I don’t think that Christmas is any more different for nontheists as it is for Christians to be honest.

DominicX's avatar

I do, yes. I celebrate the secular part of Christmas for the most part. Christmas tree, decorations, presents, etc. My mom is Catholic, however, so we also have the Nativity scene and advent wreath and she goes to church during this time and I like to go to church with her on Christmas Eve and Christmas. It’s just something I’ve always done and haven’t given it up. :)

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I think what JLeslie is saying is that Jesus could have simply been a nice, hippie Jewish reformer, and later followers, after he died, made up an entire mythology about how he was not only the Jewish political messiah but also the zombie-savior back from the dead, Osiris-style. After all, Paul’s writings are the earliest Christian texts we have, and Paul never met Jesus. The gospels were written decades after Jesus died and clearly contain a lot of sectarian spin.

Though personally I think Jesus was probably just a liar like most cult leaders, and possibly a little insane too (again, like most cult leaders).

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu Yes, thank you for translating. :)

whitenoise's avatar

@tko7800
I live in a country were people have the conviction that one can not be a good person when not religious. More specifically, they only recognise the Abrahamic religions.

They truly woudn’t trust me at all, if they’d see me as an atheist.

saint's avatar

The only one I celebrate is Christmas.

YARNLADY's avatar

I celebrate holidays as a celebration of fun, love, and fellowship. I don’t need a god or religion to do that.

mallei's avatar

As an adult, it’s only when I’m otherwise so happy (like as a newlywed, LOL) that Christmas becomes a magical time of lights and gifts and song.
Most years I’m really busy working and/or just not that into the mad scramble and the holiday season blurs with ritual gift giving and overeating.
Relentless promotion of the ideal Christmas celebration fosters frustration and misery, or does that only happen with atheists?

Scooby's avatar

Yes, for me it’s party time & family time all rolled into one…… it’s the one time of the year my family ( Brother & sisters , brother in-laws & sister in-law, nephews nieces etc ) can all get together & not argue, bicker or fight… it is quite magical, Lol….. On the 25th ( after we’ve surfaced & done the gift giving early morning at our own homes ) we all gather at my elder sisters house, she cooks the dinner & we all eat it, then all the blokes go to the pub & get mashed while the women clear up & get the tea ready, then the blokes come home for tea after which it’s party games & more drinking, then we gatecrash the neighbours & rope them in… we stop when we drop! pmsl…..

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