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JenniferP's avatar

Who is Christmas really about? The sun god? Jesus? Or Santa?

Asked by JenniferP (2103 points ) December 19th, 2012

It is supposed to be honoring Christ, but the date and customs are associated with the sun god’s birthday (Jesus was opposed to pagan worship.) And who gets all the attention anyway? Jesus or Santa?

I compare it to this: Say you want to celebrate someone’s birthday. You celebrate it on the birthday of this person’s enemy and then give all your attention to another guest.

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23 Answers

janbb's avatar

I assume you have your own answer that you are satisfied with.

josie's avatar

At the end of the day, Christmas is about Jesus. But the enlightened Western Civilization has learned that there is an opportunity to establish community at Christmas in ways that transcend the life of Jesus Christ. I am a die hard atheist, and thus see no reason to believe in the divinity and/or resurrection of Jesus, but I see a great value in his ability to develop community. And what is wrong with that. The people who object to it are, in my opinion, self centered, unhappy, and to a degree anti social. Fuck ‘em.

filmfann's avatar

Have you seen this?

of course you have, but I gotta share it

gailcalled's avatar

Say you want to celebrate my birthday. It falls on New Year’s Eve, which is the one day of the year when nobody is interested. If I insisted, the invitées would be paying attention to everyone but me.

So I always have an unbirthday party. No matter which of the other 364 days I might pick, it is bound to be the birthday of someone I am not crazy about.

Kropotkin's avatar

Christmas is about us. My own hypothesis is that the timing of the festivities during the longest nights of the year, is in some way rooted in a motivation to alleviate depression. The singing, the fine food, the colourful decorations and bright lights, the booze and merriment, are for the purpose of cheering us up. We would otherwise feel rather more glum in the wintery cold, and long nights.

I don’t really care about the Christian context that has come to dominate the supposed meaning of the festivities. It’s probable that Christianity exploited the date to have an easier time converting pagans. And today, Christmas is exploited by capitalists for the purpose of promoting consumerism. It doesn’t matter. Get drunk and be merry.

JenniferP's avatar

Actually, there is a lot of depression and stress around Christmas time.

Blackberry's avatar

Time off work to spend with people you like.

Pandora's avatar

These days I feel it isn’t about any of that. It is more about a much needed vacation at the end of the year during the cold months and pretty lights to scare the blues away from the long cold darkness that winter brings.

Kropotkin's avatar

@JenniferP Right, and there would be even more if everyone stayed in and did nothing different.

burntbonez's avatar

Bah! Christmas is about whatever the individual celebrating it thinks it is about. There is no correct answer. In my mind Christmas is about goosing the economy. If we can get the economy going, then we will help a lot of people do better. Heck, they may even end up with a goose for Christmas dinner!

livelaughlove21's avatar

In my house it’s about being too broke to buy anyone a gift because HOA fees are due on January 1st.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Christmas isn’t about any of those things in my house.
I could call it something else, I like “giftmas,” but then I get flak for being anti-Christian or being part of the “war on Christmas.” Seems like the worst thing you can say this time of year is “Happy Holidays.”
There is no religion in my Christmas, although I’m fully aware of the origins of the traditions. No sun gods, no Jesus, and frankly I’m not a big fan of Santa. I do, however, like the trees, lights, decorations, gifts, food, and quality time with my loved ones. The music and tradition, the excitement on my kids’ faces when they open their gifts. I don’t need anything else.

JLeslie's avatar

I think Christmas should be about the religious celebration, and all this commercialization is over the top and takes away from celebrating the birth of Christ. But, since the Christians, well the majority of them in America anyway, seem to love and want all the gift giving and hooplah, I’ll play along, it isn’t my holiday. If I get invited to a Christmas party I am happy to be merry and even bring a gift. I love to help trim trees and wrap gifts and eat Christmas cookies. I also completely enjoy the Nutcracker Suite and singing along with the radio some of the Christmas tunes. I like the decorations and the bustle in the stores.

As far as when it is celebrated. I think the history is a little odd also. That it was a pagan holiday. But, at the same time, the Christians kind of made it their own, and at this point it is secular in some ways. Christians tell me all the time, “you can put up a tree, the tree is not religious.” Well, to me a CHRISTmas tree is a symbol of Christmas, so I don’t do it, but I find it interesting that Christians think everybody and everybody should have a Christmas tree in their house.

Also, as @gailcalled basically said, the Christians picked a time of the year that they thought would be amicable to the Pagans. My birthday is Jan 3. Everyone is tired by then, I am too. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Years, and then people are supposed to worry about my birthday? I celebrate birthday month. All January long I am a little more happy to spend money on something I see in a store and I also buy gifts for my husband for my birthday. I try to do something special in January, but I don’t worry about the exact date. Vacation, special dinner, it changes every year.

Not to mention that some cultures/religions celebrate Christmas on different days. In the US most people think of Christmas as December 25th. My husband thinks of it as Dec 24th. He also grew up celebrating Three Kings Day, Jan 6, also known as the day of the Epiphany, the 12th day of Yule and of Christmas. He received many gifts that day also. The Russian Orthodox celebrate Jan 7. It varies around the world a little.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: You misread my answer. I was responding to @JenniferP‘s somewhat garbled corollary of having one’s birthday celebration on the birthday of his enemy. That my birthday fell near Christmas was happenstance.

I never said or implied that “Christians picked a time of year that would be amicable to the Pagans.” (I am not sure what that means either.)

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Oh, my mistake. I thought you were saying you move your birthday Celebration because it is more convenient to celebrate a different day. What I meant about amicable, was the Christians wanted to convert the Pagans so they mushed the celebrations together, which also was like a convenience.

zenvelo's avatar

For us Catholics it is about God sending his son to be our Savior, and sending his son as a baby/child to bring light to the darkness of not being attentive to God.

So @JenniferP do you celebrate Christmas or do you follow a different religion? Or are you agnostic or atheist? I am just trying to understand why you asked this question.

Sunny2's avatar

There’s a religious celebration of Jesus and a secular celebration of Santa Claus. Some people celebrate one or the other; some, both. It’s an individual choice.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo She is a Jehovah’s Witness.

ragingloli's avatar

The God of Capitalism, the mighty Commerce.

ucme's avatar

It’s about kids, family & buying a fucking shit load of batteries!!

fremen_warrior's avatar

as much as it terrifies me to say so, I agree with @ragingloli

Seek's avatar

In my house, I rotate names for the holiday: “Christmas” “Yule” “Festivus” whatever…

It’s a “day to let those close to us know we love them”.

That’s enough for me. Holidays are an integral part of human civilisation, and I don’t much care what the reason is, as long as there’s good food, good company, and libations. Gifts are an added bonus. Gift-giving is fun.

JenniferP's avatar

Thank you for everyone’s feedback.

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