I love Christmas. Last year I noticed that my enjoyment of Christmas increased vastly after I became an atheist, and this year I’m enjoying it even more. I happen to be one of those people who listen to Christmas music all year long, so the start of the Christmas season after Thanksgiving is really exciting. This weekend I started to deck out my apartment with Christmas decorations. I went Christmas shopping and found some nice holiday cards that are atheist-friendly and printed on 100% recycled paper.
This year I am thinking more about the winter solstice, but I really don’t have a problem saying that I celebrate Christmas. I don’t care whether you say “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Solstice”. When I pass by homes and businesses that display nativity scenes, I think they are lovely and quaint.
I feel no guilt about taking advantage of a religious holiday for its festivities. It’s only by chance that the winter holiday that’s most celebrated at the end of the year is a Christian one. It may have its roots in pagan solstice celebrations, but I don’t have a problem with Christianity’s historical hijacking of the holiday. I just love having a holiday at this time of year. If the main winter celebration in America were an Islamic or Hindu or Zoroastrian religious holiday, I would still celebrate it, so long as it came with decorations, music, food, and a propensity towards charity and warm fuzziness. I just love the warm fuzzies at Christmas.
I used to sing and play in a lot of choirs and ensembles that performed in churches at Christmastime. Usually, I was one of the only serious Christians in the ensemble. It used to really upset me when I performed in church with other musicians who weren’t taking the religious meaning of the music seriously. I wasted a lot of time pouting over it.
This year, I think I might just go to church on Christmas Eve to hear some lovely music.