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#51 Paula in PA

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:50 PM

As a Pagan we celebrate the season with Yule (the winter solstice), but we also celebrate Christmas on the 25th with family who are Christian. I say, the more opportunities for feasting and merry making, the better! :D


:iagree::D

Because they want to. Because Christians don't own the day or the season. Because axial tilt is the reason for the season. Because it was a special time of year long before Jesus or Christians existed. Because it has little to do with Christ. Because there's no reason not to. Because each day is what you make of it and everyone has a right to celebrate what they want to and none of us need permission from anyone else. Because our children are just as deserving of presents and fun as Christian children. Because we exist.


:iagree:

#52 5Wizards

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:52 PM

Maybe we should be called Hallmarkers, because we celebrate most of the Hallmark holidays. :)


:lol::lol::lol:
Love it!

#53 WarriorMama

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:56 PM

Because they want to. Because Christians don't own the day or the season. Because axial tilt is the reason for the season. Because it was a special time of year long before Jesus or Christians existed. Because it has little to do with Christ. Because there's no reason not to. Because each day is what you make of it and everyone has a right to celebrate what they want to and none of us need permission from anyone else. Because our children are just as deserving of presents and fun as Christian children. Because we exist.


:iagree:

Well said.

#54 Carrie12345

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:04 PM

I don't know Carrie, Christmas versus the Chicken Dance? :lol: Enjoy!


Hey, tradition is tradition, dang it! :D

#55 Daisy

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:10 PM

I find the question rather amusing only because in my circles I usually hear a non-celebrating Christian asking the rest of us why we are still celebrating such a secular, commercialized holiday. :)

You have hard-core non-Christian folks who won't celebrate Christmas because it is too Christian and hard-core Christians who won't celebrate Christmas because it is too secular. I have Christian friends who will only celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday because it isn't really Christ's birth date. I know atheists who celebrate Christmas and Christians who won't acknowledge the day. I know Christians who celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas and Jews who celebrate Christmas instead of Hanukkah. I can't keep up. :D

Most of us just fall in the middle. We are celebrating a holiday that has been fashioned by our individual traditions and beliefs.

#56 Catwoman

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:22 PM

Wow, I'm surprised that this is even an issue.

When I was growing up, even the Jewish kids celebrated Christmas -- not for religious reasons, but for the tree and Santa. (We tried to get our parents to give us Hanukkah presents, but didn't get away with it. ;))

There's a huge fun factor associated with Christmas, even if you don't make it a religious thing. It's hard to resist the shopping, the Christmas music, the decorations, the lights, and Santa!

Cat

#57 Catwoman

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:24 PM

I find the question rather amusing only because in my circles I usually hear a non-celebrating Christian asking the rest of us why we are still celebrating such a secular, commercialized holiday. :)


I've heard that, too. If you give gifts or do Santa, you're somehow not a good Christian. :glare:

Cat

#58 OnTheBrink

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:45 PM

Most of us just fall in the middle. We are celebrating a holiday that has been fashioned by our individual traditions and beliefs.


This is me. I don't have the time or inclination to weed out what's "pagan" vs what's "Christian" about Christmas. We acknowledge the miracle of Christ's birth, but realize that this was most likely not the time of year Christ was actually born. I honestly don't think that matters to Christ. His resurrection is far more important to me, spiritually speaking.

I used to get all bolixed up over Christmas, getting angry at those who made it into a secular holiday, but really, it is what you make it. If someone wants to celebrate Christmas as solely a religious holiday, fine with me. If they don't, fine by me. IMO, holidays are in the heart primarily. Colossians 2:16-17 comes to mind: Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

That's my .02 worth on the subject. LOL

#59 KarenNC

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:53 PM

So, hey, I guess I do celebrate Christmas to a degree, because, although we celebrate the solstice as a family, we do enjoy the Christmas Eve service at our UU church. And this year my daughter is Mary in the children's pageant. Okay, so we're not Christian and my daughter is acting the part of the mother of Christ. If you're Christian, that probably sounds really wrong. If you're UU, you probably understand.


Yep.:D I'm going to be spending this week trying to cobble together a tabby cat costume because that's what my daughter chose to be as a "friendly beast" in the UU church pageant (this year it's the Nativity---it's been all sorts of things including Dr. Seuss).

#60 Catwoman

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:59 PM

Yep.:D I'm going to be spending this week trying to cobble together a tabby cat costume because that's what my daughter chose to be as a "friendly beast" in the UU church pageant.


They never pick anything easy, do they? ;)

Cat

#61 jujsky

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:00 PM

My husband is ethnically Jewish, but wasn't raised practicing his faith (it wasn't allowed when he was growing up in Russia, and as an adult he has no interest in it). I grew up celebrating Christmas, and as many others have pointed out in this thread, there are winter holidays that were around long before Christmas. We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, not because we're religious, but for a mixture of cultural reasons (Hanukkah) and tradition (Christmas). We put the focus of Christmas on giving. I'm trying to teach my children to reflect on how fortunate they are and to give with a loving heart. It's a time of year for us to put more focus on charitable acts and good deeds than we normally do. We celebrate Santa, family, giving, charity, kindness and love. I also do teach them why Christians celebrate Christmas so they do know the story of Christ.

Interestingly enough, as a child in Russia, DH and everyone he knew celebrated New Years. Religion was banned so instead of Christmas or Hanukkah (which was even more taboo -- they didn't want the Jews rising up) everyone had a New Years Tree, and Diyed Moroz (Grandfather Frost -- their version of Santa) would come on New Years instead of Christmas. It was all the Santa/giving/tree-lighting traditions of Christmas without Christ. That's sort of how we celebrate Christmas too.

#62 Mom in High Heels

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:19 PM

I don't get why christians get their panties in a wad about anyone (besides themselves) celebrating Christmas when the day isn't even remotely close to the actual birth date of Christ. It's a made-up holiday, ganked by a Roman emperor to conveniently coincide with an already established holiday. Christians decided to attach certain meanings to it for themselves, so why can't anyone else? As a non-christian, it is just more culturally relevant to call it Christmas, since that's the dominant paradigm's popular name for this time of year and that particular day. What meaning I choose to attach to it is up to me, just as it is up to everyone else to decide how much significance it is to them.


Exactly. We celebrate because it is tradition. Why shouldn't we take enjoyment from the season just because Christians claim it (even though there was a holiday long before Christianity existed)? We celebrate the secular aspects of the holiday and it's fun. Should we miss out on the fun because it's popularly known as Christmas? Half the symbols and traditions associated with Christmas are of pagan origin anyway (tree, mistletoe, feasting, gift-giving, caroling). Really, the questions should be why do Christians celebrate by using pagan symbols?

#63 Corraleno

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:25 PM

Because they want to. Because Christians don't own the day or the season. Because axial tilt is the reason for the season. Because it was a special time of year long before Jesus or Christians existed. Because it has little to do with Christ. Because there's no reason not to. Because each day is what you make of it and everyone has a right to celebrate what they want to and none of us need permission from anyone else. Because our children are just as deserving of presents and fun as Christian children. Because we exist.

:iagree:
We decorate a tree, stuff stockings, give wrapped presents, and have a big feast; none of those traditions are specifically Christian (and some are clearly Pagan), plus the date itself has nothing to do with Christ's birth. For many people, the only thing Christian about the holiday is the name.

I think people who can't imagine why non-Christians would celebrate a holiday named after a religious figure they don't believe in are missing the larger point: for non-Christians, the birth and resurrection of Christ are cultural myths (just like Santa and the Easter bunny), which are part of our Western heritage. There's no reason why celebrating a cultural holiday named after Christ would bother atheists any more than the fact that many days and months are named after Norse and Roman gods. I don't worship Thor or Mars, either, but I'm not going to insist that my family call Thursday and March by different names!

Jackie

#64 Dotwithaperiod

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:34 PM

Because they want to. Because Christians don't own the day or the season. Because axial tilt is the reason for the season. Because it was a special time of year long before Jesus or Christians existed. Because it has little to do with Christ. Because there's no reason not to. Because each day is what you make of it and everyone has a right to celebrate what they want to and none of us need permission from anyone else. Because our children are just as deserving of presents and fun as Christian children. Because we exist.


Perfect. I think it's a bit silly when people say how shallow or empty it must be without the Christ in Christmas, makes me wonder if they are aware of all the traditions' origins.

Does this mean our War on Christmas has officially begun???

#65 secular_mom

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:38 PM

Does this mean our War on Christmas has officially begun???

:lol: I was hoping that would wait till after Christmas when my family has Nerf swords to wield.

#66 LibraryLover

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:46 PM

Sorry, sorry, sorry--you're right, it's a reading! I think I just said song because of it being in the hymnal.

I've heard it read on the Sunday before Christmas, but I like it best on Christmas Eve, when the lights have been turned down and all the children's eyes seem to be glowing with the magic of the winter holidays.

So, hey, I guess I do celebrate Christmas to a degree, because, although we celebrate the solstice as a family, we do enjoy the Christmas Eve service at our UU church. And this year my daughter is Mary in the children's pageant. Okay, so we're not Christian and my daughter is acting the part of the mother of Christ. If you're Christian, that probably sounds really wrong. If you're UU, you probably understand.



No-- it could be a song...lol and if it is, I want it on my iPod! Nobody owns a great story. She can be Mary in Peace. The important symbolism of life in the darkest time of year is not something to be ignored.

Edited by LibraryLover, 04 December 2010 - 02:54 PM.


#67 athomemom

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:47 PM

This is me. I don't have the time or inclination to weed out what's "pagan" vs what's "Christian" about Christmas. We acknowledge the miracle of Christ's birth, but realize that this was most likely not the time of year Christ was actually born. I honestly don't think that matters to Christ. His resurrection is far more important to me, spiritually speaking.

I used to get all bolixed up over Christmas, getting angry at those who made it into a secular holiday, but really, it is what you make it. If someone wants to celebrate Christmas as solely a religious holiday, fine with me. If they don't, fine by me. IMO, holidays are in the heart primarily. Colossians 2:16-17 comes to mind: Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

That's my .02 worth on the subject. LOL


:iagree:

#68 sleepymommy

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:13 PM

We celebrate this time of the year because this is when most of our relatives have off from work and when my boys' cousins have off from school so we can all get together for more than just a day or two. We don't live close to one another so this also gives us the time it takes to travel. What else are we to do with all these days off??

How are we not supposed to celebrate it when you can't walk into a store without hearing christmas music, you can't shop without a clerk saying "Merry Christmas", when in the kids' art classes their making christmas-like items, when there are lights and decorations every which way you turn, etc..

It's not just a religious time of the year for some, it is highly cultural for all that live in America.

#69 Rivka

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:32 PM

So, hey, I guess I do celebrate Christmas to a degree, because, although we celebrate the solstice as a family, we do enjoy the Christmas Eve service at our UU church. And this year my daughter is Mary in the children's pageant. Okay, so we're not Christian and my daughter is acting the part of the mother of Christ. If you're Christian, that probably sounds really wrong. If you're UU, you probably understand.


I understand! I'm directing our UU Christmas pageant, which I also wrote. And my daughter is also playing Mary, although our pageant this year focuses on the shepherds and Mary & Joseph are nonspeaking pantomime parts.

I used to be Christian, and honestly I still have a soft spot for the idea of a God who would become a vulnerable baby. But in general, I don't see any reason why non-Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas.

Across cultures and times, many many people have celebrated a holiday about light, gifts, and feasting near the winter Solstice. Many of the "traditional" Christmas icons and symbols come from those pagan traditions. Early Christians co-opted those traditions (including the date, Dec. 25) to help smooth people's assimilation into Christianity.

Which is fine, but it's a bit silly to then turn around and express surprise at why non-Christians are doing all those things that were non-Christian to begin with.

#70 KatieH

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:44 PM

Christians don't own the winter holiday season, but pagans don't own evergreens and nature, either :) The fir tree has been a symbol of Christianity since St. Boniface cut down Thor's oak and saw a fir growing up in its roots.

There's a certainly a huge secular and cultural component to Christmas in the US, so I don't find it odd that atheists and other non-Christians observe. I do find it odd if they observe it "because its secular" but then get in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas!"

#71 Marylou

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:55 PM

our pageant this year focuses on the shepherds and Mary & Joseph are nonspeaking pantomime parts.


You mean the shepherds who heard the angel say, "“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord" ?

I would love to hear what speaking parts the shepherds have in the play. I think I would be speechless if that happened to me! [and perhaps a bit afraid!]

#72 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:55 PM

My DS asked me this just a couple of weeks ago. We are atheist. My answer
1/ tradition, it's a family tradition that we have a tree, santa comes, gifts are exchanged and we feast. We have been doing this for generations, and this tradition has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Christmas is a cultural construct, built over many years with many traditions adopted into the whole thing. I have wondered how we can completely expurge Christ from Christmas but I just can't loose the carols, I love 'em.

2/ Before Christmas was Saturnalia, celebrated at much the same time for the winter solstice. My understanding is the Roman emporer took over Saturnalia for Christian purposes when he converted (happy to be corrected here) so there has been a celebration at this time of the year for far longer than there has been a Christian reason for one. We obviously are dealing with summer solstice, but I have been starting to ponder how we can bring the solstice more into our celebrations as we edge the Jesus stuff out.

Anyway, that was what I said to my son. While others are wondering about how to get the Christ back in Christmas, I'm wondering how to remove him entirely. Maybe in our family we need to call it Solstice instead of Christmas.


THank you for answering!! This is exactly why I was asking.

I can understand tradition. And, LOL, I can understand enjoying the parts you don't believe. We don't do Santa, but we still enjoy the stories and the songs.

Kris

#73 freethinkermama

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:55 PM

Christians don't own the winter holiday season, but pagans don't own evergreens and nature, either :) The fir tree has been a symbol of Christianity since St. Boniface cut down Thor's oak and saw a fir growing up in its roots.

There's a certainly a huge secular and cultural component to Christmas in the US, so I don't find it odd that atheists and other non-Christians observe. I do find it odd if they observe it "because its secular" but then get in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas!"


I don't think I've ever seen anyone in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas." I've seen Jewish, atheist, and even Muslim friends receive Christmas cards and receive Christmas greeting and say "thank you, you too," or at worst, "Thank you, but we celebrate. . . " Making "Merry Christmas" the only officially sanctioned greeting of the season is what frustrates people.

#74 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:57 PM

Um, yes they do. We currently live in a Muslim country, and most people here celebrate Eid even though three quarters of the population are non-Muslim.

Yeah, I don't get it either but I guess it is the same for Eid here as for Christmas elsewhere - any excuse for a party.


*really* stupid question here....

*ignorant question* Please, know I just don't understand and figure this is a safe place to ask it.....

How is it that the country you live in (Qatar I think it was) is a Muslim country if 3/4's of the population is non-Muslim?

Kris

#75 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

When my kids were little, I went through a lot of effort to emphasize the birth of Christ during the holiday season. But it didn't take my husband I long to decide to downplay that aspect the closer it came to Christmas. Seriously--once when my kids were very small they were poised to rip into the gifts and my husband started in with the "Why we celebrate...". I told him not to bother because 1) they weren't exactly teachable at that moment and 2) I can't stretch my imagination far enough to make a spiritual connection between the gift-giving that the holiday has come to be centered around and the birth of the Christ Child.

As the years go on and I see all the other aspects--secular, commercial, traditional, cultural, family--of the holiday I'm pretty convinced that we Christians should be asking why we still celebrate Christmas instead of asking why non-Christians celebrate it. Unlike Passover, it is a remembrance invented by man who merged into an existing pagan celbration, incorporating pagan traditions. Add on all that cultures have added. Most of us wouldn't be willing/able to strip away every single thing that doesn't pertain to remembering, reflecting, and worshiping.

A few years ago a friend sent me an email forward suggesting people boycot a department store chain for substituting "Holiday" sales for "Christmas". I told her I thought that it was good news because I really can't believe that God is any too pleased about how Christmas has evolved here in the US.

Holidays aren't stagnant--they adapt and change just as cultures do. Don't get me wrong--there are aspects of the Christmas season that I enjoy and appreciate and that we do celebrate. But I'm not sure that as Christians we really want to lay sole claim to all that this holiday has become.

Just my 2 cents.


I agree with you, but, if you don't believe in Christ why would you celebrate his birth.

Mind you, let me state that I do NOT believe that Christians hold the ownership papers on the holiday. I'm just interested in hearing WHY atheists celebrate and WHAT they say to explain.

Kris

#76 Rosie_0801

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

Why do non-Christians celebrate Christmas?
I am _specifically_ considering atheists, but didn't want to limit the question.


Hahaha. My dad used to say it was the Buddhists at work who were the most enthusiastic about Christmas.

We celebrate it as a cultural holiday. We're weird enough for having a Christmas Mabel instead of a tree (Mabel is a chainmail wearing shop dummy and we hang the decorations off the chain,) and not doing Santa. Ditching Christmas and moving celebrations back a few days to the Solstice would appear to be MAKING A POINT that we aren't actually trying to make. Some things are worth upsetting relatives over, (nothing is going to induce me to attend a traditional family Christmas at dh's parents' house ever again, ugh) some things aren't. My aunt has a son only a year older than my eldest, so I wanted to be careful to keep things compatible. Now that side of the family is dispersing, we may evolve differently, though we might not because Dec 25 is a public holiday and Dec 21 isn't.

Another reason is we have to celebrate something. So much effort seems to be put into making every day the same. People rake up autumn leaves because they are messy, for example. I'm sure the sameness contributes to depression. What is there to look forward to and get excited about if everything always looks the same and we even eat the same foods all year round.

Anyway, that was what I said to my son. While others are wondering about how to get the Christ back in Christmas, I'm wondering how to remove him entirely.


Yeah, I'm enjoying the challenge of creating Christmas traditions without God, Santa or snow.

Without being inflammatory, it seems to me to be a better question to ponder is why so many Christians buy into the commercial aspects of Christmas to the degree that they do. Much of what we call "celebrating Christmas" has little to do with the religious meaning of Christmas, and from discussions I have seen online there seems to a growing group of Christians who choose not to participate in the commercial celebrations of Christmas and Easter.


I actually wonder the opposite; why so many Christians feel they can only have a Godly Christmas if they toss out everything but God. If they believe God is present everywhere in their every day lives, why would he disappear at the sight of a pile of wrapping paper? Why would He not be pleased with the sight of his children enjoying the delights of their God given existence?

Of course we all do what we think is best for our family, I'm not dissing anyone because I do what I think is best for mine too! But I wonder about this one every year even though I've read a trillion threads as to why they do what they do, so I really do understand. I guess I don't see having parties and giving presents as hollow or bad in themselves. Giving presents to people you don't want to buy for and attending parties with people you don't really want to talk to any other day is certainly hollow.

My major Christmas conundrum is about Christmas carols. Should I teach them for cultural literacy? Should I not bother because we don't do God or Santa so don't go to Christmas events where people sing carols? Should I teach the ones I like so they have a bit of cultural knowledge on the topic but ignore Jingle Bells because it annoys me? Oh, what to do? :tongue_smilie:

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#77 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:05 PM

Christmas is primarily about the specifically American cultural festival and getting together with extended family. We do Santa stockings at home, have a tree decorated with family-related ornaments, we do a chocolate Advent calendar (decorated with Santa). We will either attend a party at a friend's house for Christmas Eve or go to the service at our UU church. On Christmas Day, we travel to brunch with my family (an odd mix of very religiously focused and playing "Dirty Santa"---I have a hard time reconciling the two and don't play). Then we go to my in-laws for dinner and presents, not religiously focused at all.

As part of both we enjoy riding around and looking at the lights, displays of gingerbread houses, participating in holiday parties and plays. We have a similar separation of religious/cultural holidays for Samhain/Halloween, Summer Solstice/July 4th and Vernal Equinox/Easter.

If we were living in and had been raised in Israel or a Muslim country, yes, we probably would celebrate the cultural aspects of Jewish or Muslim holidays, because they would be as pervasive as Christmas and Easter are here.


I find this interesting. I truly do. Thank you for explaining.

Kris

#78 Corraleno

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:05 PM

There's a certainly a huge secular and cultural component to Christmas in the US, so I don't find it odd that atheists and other non-Christians observe. I do find it odd if they observe it "because its secular" but then get in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas!"

Have you actually ever seen/heard/met an atheist who celebrates Christmas but then "gets hysterical" over someone saying Merry Christmas? :confused: If anyone would be upset about the pervasive use of Merry Christmas, I would think it would be people of other faiths (not atheists), who celebrate different holidays. Yet they seem to be pretty good sports about it. ;)

OTOH, I've seen and heard (including here on this board) people get upset about certain businesses not saying Merry Christmas (e.g. sending Holiday cards, having Holiday sales, asking their employees to say "Happy Holidays," etc.). I think that insisting Christmas is an exclusively Christian religious holiday, while simultaneously insisting that public businesses and institutions continue to promote it, is rather hypocritical. (Not saying anyone here has that attitude, but I have seen and heard that, including among my relatives.)

Jackie

#79 nukeswife

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:06 PM

Because they want to. Because Christians don't own the day or the season. Because axial tilt is the reason for the season. Because it was a special time of year long before Jesus or Christians existed. Because it has little to do with Christ. Because there's no reason not to. Because each day is what you make of it and everyone has a right to celebrate what they want to and none of us need permission from anyone else. Because our children are just as deserving of presents and fun as Christian children. Because we exist.


:iagree:

We celebrate it because it's a family tradition although nobody in my family every went to church, the reason for the season had nothing to do with religion. We continue to call it christmas when talking to family who are Christian and celebrate is as such, but here at home we have started calling it Yule.

#80 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:08 PM

This. And, we also celebrate the whole solstice season (from Solstice to New Year's)

Also this. It was tradition for both me and dh growing up. For both of us, it was always a fun, family thing. Except his evening was ruined by having to stay up to go to midnight mass (so he says), and mine was just ruined by a grumpy atheist dad.

And, finally this. I don't get why christians get their panties in a wad about anyone (besides themselves) celebrating Christmas when the day isn't even remotely close to the actual birth date of Christ. It's a made-up holiday, ganked by a Roman emperor to conveniently coincide with an already established holiday. Christians decided to attach certain meanings to it for themselves, so why can't anyone else? As a non-christian, it is just more culturally relevant to call it Christmas, since that's the dominant paradigm's popular name for this time of year and that particular day. What meaning I choose to attach to it is up to me, just as it is up to everyone else to decide how much significance it is to them.


Please don't get me wrong. I am NOT criticizing anyone for celebrating anything. I am just curious as to the reasoning behind it. I finally decided to ask here, because I think it is a "safe" place to ask. I am perfectly fine with the reason "tradition".

Kris

#81 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:13 PM

Just because it's in the culture to do so. Simple. I grew up with an atheist dad and a non practicing mum who at the time considered herself Christian but didnt go to church...Christmas was a wonderful time of family connectedness and celebration. Christ was never discussed. We never went to church. It was all about Santa and gift giving (or, rather, as a kid, gift getting), food (and alcohol) and seeing relatives.
And STILL I would say it was meaningful because of the joy of the celebration. I have memories of plaiting my Pa Jack's few strands of hair and cutting his toenails, playing with granma's cat, the sparkling of Christmas Tree lights, being so excited I coudlnt sleep the night before. My gandmother falling asleep on the couch. All my cousins around.
I havent been able to give that to MY kids because we just dont have a close extended family around here- or anyone like my granma. But Christmas, even without Christ, was certainly meaningful and beautiful for me as a child.
As an adult...I could easily live without it but even I, who gets a bit cynical about it all....enjoy parts of it very much.
I live my spirituality every day..no day is more or less meaningful to me in that sense.
Why celebrate Christmas when we dont celebrate Christ the way Christians do? Because we can.


LOL re: bolded part!! I like that answer, I use it often!!

Kris

#82 Carrie12345

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:15 PM

Have you actually ever seen/heard/met an atheist who celebrates Christmas but then "gets hysterical" over someone saying Merry Christmas? :confused: If anyone would be upset about the pervasive use of Merry Christmas, I would think it would be people of other faiths (not atheists), who celebrate different holidays. Yet they seem to be pretty good sports about it. ;)

OTOH, I've seen and heard (including here on this board) people get upset about certain businesses not saying Merry Christmas (e.g. sending Holiday cards, having Holiday sales, asking their employees to say "Happy Holidays," etc.). I think that insisting Christmas is an exclusively Christian religious holiday, while simultaneously insisting that public businesses and institutions continue to promote it, is rather hypocritical. (Not saying anyone here has that attitude, but I have seen and heard that, including among my relatives.)

Jackie

:iagree:
I've never known anyone to get their panties in a bunch over "Merry Christmas", but I've seen A LOT of people get upset (you know how everyone loves to vent on Facebook!) about "Happy Holidays". It's somehow considered wrong to acknowledge the fact that there are multiple celebrations going on through the season.

#83 5Wizards

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:25 PM

Have you actually ever seen/heard/met an atheist who celebrates Christmas but then "gets hysterical" over someone saying Merry Christmas? :confused: If anyone would be upset about the pervasive use of Merry Christmas, I would think it would be people of other faiths (not atheists), who celebrate different holidays. Yet they seem to be pretty good sports about it. ;)

OTOH, I've seen and heard (including here on this board) people get upset about certain businesses not saying Merry Christmas (e.g. sending Holiday cards, having Holiday sales, asking their employees to say "Happy Holidays," etc.). I think that insisting Christmas is an exclusively Christian religious holiday, while simultaneously insisting that public businesses and institutions continue to promote it, is rather hypocritical. (Not saying anyone here has that attitude, but I have seen and heard that, including among my relatives.)

Jackie


:iagree:

#84 astrid

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:50 PM

.

#85 lisabelle

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

I'm not Christian...I'm more of a heathen than an atheist...but I recognize December as a month of giving and sharing, culminating on December 25. I love a pretty Christmas tree with gifts underneath. I love decorating the house and yard with lights. I say Merry Christmas to people, though I'm one of those who is more likely to say Happy Holidays until I know that the person celebrates Christmas.

I get what Christmas is about and I honor why it is important to so many people. If the majority of the people in this country celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his story is one of love and forgiveness, how can I not think that's a good thing and want to take part in it? And I share the story, to the best of my knowledge (but without seeking out more knowledge) with my son.

#86 zaichiki

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:07 PM

I've heard of quite a few Christians having a sedar on Passover, or lighting a menorah on Hanukkah and so on. And they're not Jewish. Sometimes people just like to adopt other traditions or learn more about other cultures or to appreciate certain holiday gestures or to expose their children to different things or whatever the case may be. I think that's fine.


Christians who have a sedar on Passover or light a menorah on Hanukkah aren't just exposing their chilren to another culture. Jews and Christians worship the same God and have the same religious heritage. We remember the same Exodus (the Passover seder) and the same miracle of the oil during the temple commemoration (Hannukah). Most Christians don't celebrate with the Jewish traditions, even though the same historical events are in our Bible, but those that do still *believe* the historical accuracy of what they are doing. (Atheists adopting Christian religious traditions for Christmas do not.)

The secular Christmas traditions aren't really secular: they celebrate the religious too. Santa Claus and gift giving remembers St. Nicholas and the Magi.

In our house Christmas is a birthday party!

ETA: We also celebrate a secular "Christmas": Russian New Year. S novim godom!

Edited by zaichiki, 04 December 2010 - 06:25 PM.


#87 Daisy

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:52 PM

Have you actually ever seen/heard/met an atheist who celebrates Christmas but then "gets hysterical" over someone saying Merry Christmas? :confused: If anyone would be upset about the pervasive use of Merry Christmas, I would think it would be people of other faiths (not atheists), who celebrate different holidays. Yet they seem to be pretty good sports about it. ;)

OTOH, I've seen and heard (including here on this board) people get upset about certain businesses not saying Merry Christmas (e.g. sending Holiday cards, having Holiday sales, asking their employees to say "Happy Holidays," etc.). I think that insisting Christmas is an exclusively Christian religious holiday, while simultaneously insisting that public businesses and institutions continue to promote it, is rather hypocritical. (Not saying anyone here has that attitude, but I have seen and heard that, including among my relatives.)

Jackie


I have NEVER ever had an atheist or person of non-Christian faith EVER get bent out of shape about "Merry Christmas." Usually it is just the Christians having a hissy fit about "Happy Holidays."

I think it is ridiculous.

Edited by Daisy, 04 December 2010 - 07:23 PM.


#88 TaraTheLiberator

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:54 PM

I am _specifically_ considering atheists, but didn't want to limit the question.


Because Christmas has become a cultural, not just a religious, holiday in America.

Tara

#89 slr1765

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:57 PM

Because it's fun, it's a time for family and friends and there's an awful lot to do that has nothing to do with religion. Why would we NOT want to do Christmas?

#90 Corraleno

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:59 PM

The secular Christmas traditions aren't really secular: they celebrate the religious too. Santa Claus and gift giving remembers St. Nicholas and the Magi.

Actually, Santa may get his name from St. Nick, but most of the magical aspects of Santa (including the gift-giving) originally come from Norse mythology: living at the North Pole (or the mountains of Lapland), the 8 flying reindeer (Odin's 8-legged horse Sleipnir, who flew through the skies on a winter hunting party), the magical elves, and even the leaving of presents in boots left by children in front of the chimney (children would leave carrots for Sleipnir, which would be replaced by a little gift). None of those traditions originally had anything to do with a Greek bishop. Most of the Northern European traditions of Christmas actually derive from an earlier Pagan festival — including the late December date — so I find it strange that a Christian would insist that anyone using those symbols is actually celebrating a Christian religious festival, whether they like it or not.

I would think that Pagans could just as easily argue that anyone who decorates a Christmas tree, tells their children about Santa (with magic elves & flying reindeer), fills stockings with goodies, and eats a big feast on December 25th is actually celebrating a Pagan solstice festival, not the birth of Christ.

Jackie

Edited by Corraleno, 04 December 2010 - 07:01 PM.


#91 Tangerine

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:01 PM

When I was a Christian, in my youth, I was in a circle of people who didn't celebrate Christmas because of "pagan roots". Now, as an atheist, I celebrate Christmas, and it is a "religious holiday". I can't win for losing. I'm just going to stick my mittens in my ears and "fa la la la la" so I can't hear anyone's opinion. :D

#92 mommytobees

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:05 PM

I'm not Christian...I'm more of a heathen than an atheist...but I recognize December as a month of giving and sharing, culminating on December 25. I love a pretty Christmas tree with gifts underneath. I love decorating the house and yard with lights. I say Merry Christmas to people, though I'm one of those who is more likely to say Happy Holidays until I know that the person celebrates Christmas.

I get what Christmas is about and I honor why it is important to so many people. If the majority of the people in this country celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his story is one of love and forgiveness, how can I not think that's a good thing and want to take part in it? And I share the story, to the best of my knowledge (but without seeking out more knowledge) with my son.


Thank you!! This was exactly what I was interested in hearing.

I was tired last night when I posted (I'm about 14-17 hours ahead of you all in the US) and should have posted better my thoughts.

It (the question) was bothering me because I honestly couldn't come up with a better reason than "because we want to celebrate". NOT that _that_ isn't a good enough reason in and of itself, but because I was curious.

Kris

#93 slr1765

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:12 PM

I don't think I've ever seen anyone in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas."


Yep, me neither. In fact, the whole Happy Holiday politically correct greeting instead annoys me.

#94 Where's Toto?

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:22 PM

.

Edited by dottieanna29, 04 December 2010 - 07:23 PM.
meant to start new thread


#95 jplain

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:26 PM

DH and I are atheists. Why do we celebrate Christmas? In this country, Christmas is a secular as well as religious holiday. Take a look around the next time you go into a store. They aren't promoting Christmas with religious symbols. They're promoting it with secular symbols, like Santa's elves and reindeer. We celebrate a secular Christmas by gathering with family, decorating a tree, hanging stockings, exchanging gifts, and by cooking a big Christmas dinner. We don't need religious reasons to do these things; they're cultural traditions.

I agree with you, but, if you don't believe in Christ why would you celebrate his birth.

I don't celebrate his birth. But I do celebrate my birthday, which just so happens to be December 25. :D

#96 NanceXToo

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 07:28 PM

I have NEVER ever had an atheist or person of non-Christian faith EVER gettin bent out of shape about "Merry Christmas." Usually it is just the Christians having a hissy fit about "Happy Holidays."

I think it is ridiculous.


:iagree: I'm not Christian but all I say to "Merry Christmas" is "Thanks, you too." That's the most polite and easy thing to say to someone who obviously has no idea I don't celebrate Christmas (and the people who are close enough to me to know wouldn't say it to me anyway).

But yep I've seen/heard plenty of Christians get all pompous and bullying and indignant about people being asked to say "Happy Holidays" and protesting it and making snotty, sarcastic remarks about being "too PC" (as if that's such a bad thing, and as if it's their right to take over the world and its stores and its schools and its public properties and push their beliefs down everyone else's throat- I mean, heaven forbid some people actually acknowledge with some degree of politeness and respect that not everybody celebrates Christmas and that therefore every public place need not treat it as the only holiday in the world).

"Merry Christmas" from someone who is well-meaning but just (for some reason) not really thinking about the fact that not everyone celebrates it- I can handle that in the spirit in which it was intended.

But a "Merry Christmas" from someone who is digging in their heels and basically saying "I know not everybody celebrates Christmas but WE'RE the majority here and we WILL have it OUR way and we REFUSE on principal to say "happy holidays" because Christmas is the be all, end all, and if you don't like it, too bad, and if the schools don't like it, we object, and if the stores don't like it, we boycott, and we're going to pass around stupid chain letters and poems about it and get everyone we can on the screw-everybody-else bandwagon"....

...if you REALLY can't find it in your heart to just wish me a "happy holiday," do me a favor. Just tell me to go to hell or something instead. :lol:

It'll be more real, at least.

;)

#97 Mommy22alyns

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:04 PM

I don't think I've ever seen anyone in hysterics over someone saying "Merry Christmas." I've seen Jewish, atheist, and even Muslim friends receive Christmas cards and receive Christmas greeting and say "thank you, you too," or at worst, "Thank you, but we celebrate. . . " Making "Merry Christmas" the only officially sanctioned greeting of the season is what frustrates people.



Well, I have unfortunately. I spent a lot of years working in retail and eventually got snapped at one too many times for saying "Merry Christmas." Your friends handled it with a lot more grace than some of my customers.

#98 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:19 PM

:iagree:
But yep I've seen/heard plenty of Christians get all pompous and bullying and indignant about people being asked to say "Happy Holidays" and protesting it and making snotty, sarcastic remarks about being "too PC" (as if that's such a bad thing, and as if it's their right to take over the world and its stores and its schools and its public properties and push their beliefs down everyone else's throat- I mean, heaven forbid some people actually acknowledge with some degree of politeness and respect that not everybody celebrates Christmas and that therefore every public place need not treat it as the only holiday in the world).

"Merry Christmas" from someone who is well-meaning but just (for some reason) not really thinking about the fact that not everyone celebrates it- I can handle that in the spirit in which it was intended.

But a "Merry Christmas" from someone who is digging in their heels and basically saying "I know not everybody celebrates Christmas but WE'RE the majority here and we WILL have it OUR way and we REFUSE on principal to say "happy holidays" because Christmas is the be all, end all, and if you don't like it, too bad, and if the schools don't like it, we object, and if the stores don't like it, we boycott, and we're going to pass around stupid chain letters and poems about it and get everyone we can on the screw-everybody-else bandwagon"....

...if you REALLY can't find it in your heart to just wish me a "happy holiday," do me a favor. Just tell me to go to hell or something instead. :lol:

It'll be more real, at least.

;)



I seriously <3 you right about now. :001_smile: Thank you.

#99 KarenNC

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 10:08 PM

Christians who have a sedar on Passover or light a menorah on Hanukkah aren't just exposing their chilren to another culture. Jews and Christians worship the same God and have the same religious heritage. We remember the same Exodus (the Passover seder) and the same miracle of the oil during the temple commemoration (Hannukah). Most Christians don't celebrate with the Jewish traditions, even though the same historical events are in our Bible, but those that do still *believe* the historical accuracy of what they are doing. (Atheists adopting Christian religious traditions for Christmas do not.)


Actually all the Christians that I have encountered who host a seder at a church, etc are not celebrating the same holiday as the Jews are. They are celebrating a specifically Christian holiday, including redacting all sorts of Christian symbolism into it. The elements of the seder are all portrayed as symbols of Jesus, etc. Compare this Christian explanation http://www.sonserver...sover-seder.htm with this Jewish one http://www.jewfaq.org/holidaya.htm.

Essentially, it is the same as if a Muslim decides to celebrate Christmas because they worship the same God and have the same religious heritage. This doesn't mean they are celebrating it for the same reasons or in the same way or with the same understanding a Christian does, nor would they be giving their children an accurate understanding of what Christmas means to a Christian. Now, if the Christian is attending a seder hosted at a synagogue or by a practicing Jew, that would be a different matter.

Edited by KarenNC, 04 December 2010 - 10:30 PM.


#100 KarenNC

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 10:28 PM

My major Christmas conundrum is about Christmas carols. Should I teach them for cultural literacy? Should I not bother because we don't do God or Santa so don't go to Christmas events where people sing carols? Should I teach the ones I like so they have a bit of cultural knowledge on the topic but ignore Jingle Bells because it annoys me? Oh, what to do? :tongue_smilie:


Go with the ones you like and leave the rest. I'd personally be happy if I never again hear the awful song about the red shoes that keeps being played around here!

I also had the conundrum, but for different reasons. When my daughter was small, I was a lot more concerned about the issue of Christmas carols than I am now. Bear in mind we also live in the Bible Belt of the US, and all my extended family is evangelical Christians of the mindset that if something doesn't constantly specifically mention Jesus it's probably evil. Helping her develop a religious identity that is different than the mainstream was harder than it might be in other situations. I decided to try to avoid the more professional ones (ones that essentially say "I believe this.") and just enjoy the rest. I also realized that my baggage regarding Christianity didn't have to be hers (and she could teach me to shed some of mine;)). She could see it as no different than Judaism, Buddhism, etc--a religion that we don't practice but not as a threat, just something else to learn from.


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