Merry Festive Celebration of Your Choice!
So, to discuss the season at hand, i've had at least one person ask me in the last week why as an atheist I celebrate christmas. It seems to be fashionable these days for christians to stand up and 'reclaim' their festival, even though it wasn't theirs to start off with (they stole the date from the heathens in an attempt to subvert heathen celebrations and win more followers), the practice of decorating trees is heathen according to the Bible (Jeremiah 10:2-4), and the majority of them probably don't go to church on christmas day anyway. In the spirit of fighting the so called 'War on Christmas' ZenStar's father sent a letter to local magazine You, that pretty much sums up the christian take on things, and not only got it published but won Best Letter for the week. You can see it online here. Personally I have no problem being greeted with Happy Holidays (it's the holidays, and i'd prefer they were happy), and I sign Merry Xmas because it's shorter to write when you have to fill out 30 odd gift tags, and I really can't see why any christian would take issue with this. If people are trying not to offend non-christians by saying Happy Holidays then let them - you'd think in today's over-PC society this would be thoroughly accepted. At the same time, it is overly PC to say that christmas shouldn't be celebrated because it might offend non-christians. This is utter rubbish - celebrate away. The same goes for Honnukah, Divali, Eid, and just about every other festival. People have the right to practice their religion, even in public, and the stores have a right to cash in on it.
But it does raise the question of whether christmas is an entirely christian festival anyway. To me there are two distinct celebrations that occur on Dec 25: in one, christians who believe in the birth of Jesus Christ celebrate it by going to church and then spending the day in praise and gratefulness with their family and friends; in the second, the traditions of Saturnalia and Yule, of Sinter Klaus and gift giving and tree decorating and feasting, the entirely western, commercial and capitalist celebration of friends and family and goodwill are all bundled into one festive package enjoyable by all ages and religions. There are a lot of christians who claim to celebrate the first but in fact only celebrate the second. I celebrate the second with great glee and joyfulness, because i like capitalism and commercialism and sparkly lights and spending a day with my family. Atheists are not averse to peace and goodwill and joy to all mankind; we just don't think you need to make up excuses like the birth of a mythological figure to celebrate them.
As an adjunct to this, see this absolutely brilliant list of You Might Be a Christian If...
So anyway, I had a great christmas, celebrated with family and gave gifts and ate food and had an altogether fantastic time. I hope everyone else had a good holiday too.