For you, does Christmas have anything to do with Christianity?

In the thread for non Christians about Christmas, DigitalC posted:

That made me wonder–do you feel that way? For you, does it have anything to do with religion/baby Jesus? Fifty percent? Twenty five?

I’m not Christian and I always assumed that it was at least partially about that, even though it is very secular and commercial now. Too many viewings of the Peanuts special, I suppose.

I mean, it’s still fun to do things like watch the goofy specials and eat cookies, but I guess deep down I still think of it as a religious holiday which is probably why I don’t observe it. Also because I just never really did growing up.

Nope. To me it’s about family and gift giving.

Within the context of the question … for me, of course not because I’m not a Christian. However, I do realize that it is essentially a Christian holiday. Don’t know if anyone noticed the big “Christ” right in the title.

But there is no denying that Christams has been co-opted for the heathens into a purely commercial enterprise. That’s the one I … not celebrate, as much as tolerate.

Nope. Not at all.

Christmas has never had any religious significance for me at all. I don’t even think about the religious connection when I’m celebrating - it’s a family event, nothing more.

I think people who are raised in a normative Christian society, which most English-speaking ones are, have a hard time taking off those lenses and seeing it from the point of view of not just non-religion (which can easily slip into a “secular” winter holiday role) but other, conflicting religions.

I mean, there’s an angel on top of the Christmas tree! It’s called Christmas, for god’s sake, of course it’s religious. Just because most people celebrate it by buying things doesn’t mean it’s not religious.

EDIT: This is not to say that there’s no such thing as a mostly secular Christmas, but you have to be somewhere on the Christianity spectrum to do it, even if it is “atheist in a Christian society”.

Yeah, I think that’s how I see it, Second Judith. I mean, maybe you take it for granted if you are Christian or a lapsed Christian. When you hear all the Jesus-y music and all…it does make it hard to embrace Xmas, for a non-Xian. Don’t get me wrong–I love Home Alone and the bird killing elf of Rankin Bass Rudolph as much as the next girl. But when the “Go baby Jesus, go!” music comes on, it’s definitely way uncomfortable.

Don’t give a toss why we celebrate it as long as I get me some prezzies.

To me it’s a 100% secular holiday. But deep down, I can’t shake off the religious aspect of it that I grew up with. No escaping my roots!

And I loves me a good creche.

I pretty much love all Christmas carols and have no problems putting an angel at the top of a tree, but there’s nothing religious about it for me. I have never believed in God, even as a kid - not even a glimmer. Of course, I see how Christmas can be religious for other people, but for me - not at all. I can celebrate the holidays with pie, tinsel, sparkly lights and not even think about religion unless someone else brings it up.

Well, in my opinion while it’s certainly heavily infused with Christianity, it generally has had an awful lot of more-or-less non-Christian aspects. And those aspects are getting more pervasive all the time. When someone consciously celebrates Christmas with a star instead of an angel on the tree, Santa instead of Jesus and focuses on gift giving and Christmas dinner - avoiding overtly religious stuff as much as possible - then it really isn’t very Christian at all.

Having a celebration this time of year is older than Christianity, which basically hijacked it; and I think quite a few non-Christians and even secular Christians are basically celebrating a non-religious holiday with leftover religious trappings. Rather like Easter turning into eggs and rabbits day for quite a few people; I don’t think I even realized it was a religious holiday growing up. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually most people don’t regard the religious aspect of Christmas including the name as being any more religious than having a day of the week named after Thor.

Yes, exactly! I’m a big Die Hard fan, but I think a lot of people are able to tune out the carols, angels, big stars, St Nicolases, shepherds-crook peppermint canes, etc. as cultural white noise, but that just means that they’re acclimated to it enough to be able to do that.

Obviously the answer to “Is Christmas connected to Christianity for you” varies from person to person, but the degree to which people can disassociate it from its Christian origins is based on how normatised the holiday is, not on any inherent secularity.

edit: Der Trihs, but even the Big Giant Star on a tree and St Nicholas are Christian symbols, just less recognisable ones!

Not at all, though it used to when I was younger. Now Christmas is one of the only times in the year that I get to spend with my entire family, most of whom I like. My mom is kind of a downer (gets stressed easily), but overall, Christmas at my mom’s house is one of those benignly chaotic times where everyone is there, laughing about when we were younger, playing games and going out together and enjoying the idea of Santa Claus vicariously through the kids (okay, just my kid - I’m the only one who has one yet) and generally enjoying themselves.

This song perfectly sums it up: “White Wine in the Sun” by Tim Minchin.

See full lyrics here.

No religious aspect at all for me. I see it as the current cultural iteration of an ancient practice designed to make the shortest, darkest, dreariest days of the year a little more cheery.

It’s never been a religious holiday for me- just a cultural one. My family was not very religious, so it was all presents and trees and yummy food.

And yeah, that culture has a Christian background, but to me Christmas never had much to do with the actual beliefs. I even kind of like some of the religious trappings. It makes me feel connected to a longer history. I guess it’s kind of a fairy story to me, no different than Santa Claus.

For me it is a religious holiday, and as a result I spend a lot of December avoiding a lot of the more commercial aspects of it. We have gifts and all, but we try to keep it simple.

The other thing I really love about Christmas is exactly that weight of centuries of different traditions and beliefs around it. I’m always fascinated with legends and folklore and how it changes over time. So my Christmas decorations (which are kinda minimal anyway) consist mainly of Nativity scenes, etc. and greenery–holly and mistletoe and such–and I read “The Children of Green Knowe” and about the Glastonbury thorn and old pagan traditions.

I never had any inkling it was a religious holiday growing up, it was always a family holiday. My tree didn’t have an angel on top, usually it was a star, sometimes a bell. Valentines day is named after a saint and has as much to do with religion as christmas.

For me personally, it has zero to do with those things, since I’m an atheist. For me it’s about the time off from work and extra time with family and friends.

Of course, I could hardly be unaware that I’m piggy-backing onto a religious holiday. I mean, I would have to be brain-dead not to realize that.
My mother is Christian, as are many of my friends.

But hey, originally the Christians were piggy-backing onto a pagan holiday, so it’s only fair that I return the favor.

They may have started out that way, but not so much anymore. A star by itself ( not, say, over a manger ) is really rather generic when you get right down to it. And Santa Claus is barely religious at all anymore.

I don’t so much think of Christmas as having any “inherent secularity”, as I think of it essentially having become two holidays falling on the same day. Original Flavor Christmas and New Secular Christmas. There’s religious customs and symbols, and there’s secular customs and symbols.