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how to have a secular christmas

Although Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday, that has changed dramatically over the years. There's nothing about Christmas presents which is inherently religious or Christian. Even 80 percent of non-Christians engage in giving gifts at Christmas or … Helps integrate into Irish life. The most popular Christmas activity is exchanging gifts, and it doesn't have to be abandoned to have a secular Christmas. It’s a misconception that could prove costly for churches unless they understand that many Christmas tunes are copyrighted and owned by secular music publishers. One of the long-standing traditions of Christmas has been to wrap and exchange gifts, and that custom doesn’t need to be forgotten when celebrating a secular Christmas. The current presidential administration came to power on a long-building wave of white supremacy, which treats Christianity as the national default and traffics in anti-Semitism as core to its ideology. Culture, though, is more than just religion, and this means that there is more to Christmas than just religion, even though it's a day ostensibly set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Christian savior. On the really secular side of Christmas, the giving of gifts from Santa, the change is even more dramatic. Say Merry Christmas. Little, if any of it, is religious in nature, so celebrating this time of year with special foods and meals is an inherently secular activity. Gifts are just little (or big) tokens of appreciation for partnerships that have lasted the test of time, or as a sign of respect. So I say “Merry Christmas!” Or “Happy Christmas Holidays” is okay; but definitely, you won’t hear me say “Happy Holidays” while standing in front of a nativity scene or a Christmas tree. "My secular family celebrates Christmas by decorating our house & tree with lights, ornaments, Santa's and snowmen. A Secular Christmas: 5 Festive Ways to Celebrate. Well-wishing has no religious ties. One may not get to sit down at the dinner table, go ice skating, or wander around a holiday market because of the restrictions in place, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make room for new household traditions. When Congress declared Christmas a National Holiday, in 1870, Christmas ceased being a strictly religious observance and became a secular holiday. Although there are lots of religious decorations out there, you can also find plenty of secular decorations. My Christmas primarily means family. Anyone can cook and feast! This is why this holiday can be so secular … “I like the hybrid tradition we have,” Lim admits. Add garlands to the tree, such as ones made of tinsel, popcorn, or cranberries, by wrapping them around and around the tree. So if you like decorating the house generally or just occasionally for the sake of change, you have lots of non-religious choices: Santa, reindeer, evergreens, lights, mistletoe, etc. It's doubtful anyone ever really celebrated Christmas in this manner — it looks more like the manufactured nostalgia people create in order to feel better about their past. To finish the tree, place a tree topper at the tip, such as an angel or star. Think roast turkey, chocolate yule logs, gingerbread, hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and fruitcake! You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. Participating in the secular We give what money we would have spent on Christmas presents to organizations that others have a lovely Christmas. Christians obtain grace from reflecting on the miracle of the Incarnation but they have given the event called Christmas as a glorious gift to the world. The least religious aspect of Christmas is probably the one which involves the most time, effort, and money: shopping. Should Atheists Ignore Christmas or Celebrate It? I go around collecting all the books we have in the house with a Christmas theme and put them in a basket for the kids to choose when this comes up on the Advent calendar. Some people do celebrate Christmas … 20 great secular Christmas songs | Music | herald-review.com We just chose not to participate in the traditional commercialized way. Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. For me, Christmas has always been a secular occasion. You can read more about the Christmas Tree as a secular icon here. And to reduce Christian feast days like Christmas to the same level as secular holidays is an injustice to Christ the King. We don’t begrudge other’s secular celebration of the season. Christmas is a holiday that was originally meant to be religious. If you're looking for an excuse to have a party, this is as as good as any. There's nothing the least bit Christian about Christmas shopping, so if you're someone who actually enjoys the sights, sounds and smells of shopping at Christmastime, you can do so without wondering if you're just giving in to popular religious celebration. Christmas was originally a pagan holiday stolen by Christians to get the pagans to convert. “Xmas” is not a dirty word. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December.For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular. Babylon Radio - Multicultural community. The result is that everyone picks and chooses certain aspects of Christmas to celebrate and others to ignore. The act of giving gifts to loved ones is not inherently religious at all. This does not mean that there are no religious elements to Christmas — on the contrary, there are many religious aspects to Christmas. Posted on Nov 27, 2010. One of the most common myths is that ALL Christmas songs, carols or hymns are in the public domainand don’t require licensing or permission. How’s that for a secular Christmas meal? You could make the Christmas holidays an annual family reunion to strengthen familial ties. The evergreen boughs reminded them that the sun would return and would make everything green again. What Do Atheists Do During Christmas Holidays? Once again, preparing food holds no religious denomination; celebrating this time of year with homemade meals is a secular activity. It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “ Christmas ” should be condemned and abolished by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth. One may not get to sit down at the dinner table, go ice skating, or wander around a holiday market because of the restrictions in place, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make room for new household traditions. Given the prevalence of Christian culture in much of the West, it is hard for Christians to understand the argument for declaring Christmas to be a secular rather than a religious observation. When she’s not overworking herself to meet a deadline, she can be found drinking an iced chai at her local organic café, making sufganiyot from scratch, or collecting paperbacks. In this article, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate a secular Christmas. My mother is Catholic, though she didn’t practice for most of my childhood. While the birth of Jesus Christ is a primary aspect of Christmas for practicing Christians, many of the traditions associated with the holiday -- including the Christmas tree -- are not rooted in Christian religious practices, and a rising number of Americans will have secular celebrations. Christians have a history of stealing other holidays and forcing people to convert, and they still do. It’s important to note how food can bridge the distance between two cultures: Jewish people, who celebrate Hanukkah, oftentimes go to Chinese eateries, since it’s the only type of establishment conveniently open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Gift-Giving One of the long-standing traditions of Christmas has been to wrap and exchange gifts, and that custom doesn’t need to be forgotten when celebrating a secular Christmas. Many historians believe Christmas tree traditions were adapted by Christians to convert pagans. It looks wonderful, and feels nice and cozy during the cold winter months. This is what we should expect from a cultural holiday because religion is an important aspect of culture. Easter eggs and Halloween were originally pagan traditions. To me it's a secular holiday, and its importance in my life is unwavering. Except for attending church services, donating money or time to charities is the one activity which could be the least secular because so many charities are religious. I disagree. Why You Don't Have to Be Religious to Celebrate Christmas. The only way for the gifts to have any religious meaning is if you personally invest them with one; otherwise, the gifts are simply of the sort which you might give other times during the year. The Christmas season has developed an entire line of foods — mostly sweets — that only appear during this time of year. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. From the earliest centuries, Christmas was not merely a private affair for homes and parishes. Christmas is not a secular holiday. History of American Religion:1600 to 2017. Indeed, by participating in the commercialization of Christmas, you're helping to diminish its religious aspects. In contrast, Catholic historians give credit to St. Boniface, a 7th… But here in America, where 76% of the country is Christian, non-Christians have adopted the most secular elements of Christmas, like Santa, Christmas trees, snowmen, stockings, etc. Food might not seem like much of a celebration, but getting together with others to make and enjoy food can be very important socially, emotionally and psychologically. Now, increasingly, I am also seeing a fourth attitude: Christianity is intolerant. The Problem with Christmas as a Religious Holiday . Information for migrants Ireland. You can donate your time or money to a charity of your choice without feeding any religion. Rico Tice: As London has become an increasingly secular city, I have come across three basic attitudes related to faith in Christ: Christians are weird, Christianity is untrue, and Christianity is irrelevant. Saying Merry Christmas is not an assault on “inclusiveness” as the secular left might have you think. There's nothing at all religious or Christian about it, so there are lots of ways atheists and non-Christians can celebrate it without any references to traditional Christian activities. And I use this one more than once throughout the month. Thankfully, Quebec seems to have secured a deal with COVID-19 to cut its incubation period by half at Christmas time. You can read more about the Christmas Tree as a secular icon, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, 6 Christmas Traditions: Where Did They Originate From – Babylon, 10 Top Movie Soundtracks: Escaping the Lockdown Blues One Film at a Time, 5 free apps to help boost your productivity this January, Why not getting your dream job might be a good thing, David Bowie: 15 great songs you might not know, How to drive in icy conditions without fear, All Eyes on You: 24 World Leaders React to the Right-Wing Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, How To Tackle Online Bully or CyberbAbuse. To begin to answer the question, we have to first understand that Christmas and Jesus’ birthday are not synonymous. Each year in Christian circles there's usually some heated discussion about Christmas. There needs to be room for a secular Christmas as well. The irony is that secular Christmas was supposed to be a solution for a … In fact, historically, they really have nothing in common. Although this year family members might not come over to celebrate, that does not mean that family traditions need go out the door! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Waves like this have broken on us before, and will again. Large numbers of people have family gatherings during the Christmas holidays. In this article, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate a secular Christmas. Christmas as a holiday didn’t even come around for hundreds of years after the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Christmas in the Philippines has outgrown its religious roots and has become so embedded in Filipino culture that it is as much a national holiday as it is a religious one. In fact, significant portions of Christmas celebrations today don't originate in Christianity at all. You don't have to be religious to celebrate the holidays, and you most certainly don't have to be religious to be a … The Christmas holiday season isn't just Christmas, but also New Year's. While it’s commonly considered a secular and more inclusive alternative to Merry Christmas, the term Happy Holidays actually has Christian origins!. Since so many people have time off during these holidays, it's a good excuse to visit and spend time with family. The holiday already included many elements borrowed from other religions, which made it easy to celebrate Christmas without reference to religion. This would drive most people batty and it's not the sort of Christmas that anyone celebrates. For instance, think of a movement like “Keep Christ in Christmas,” which aims to reassert the prominence of religious … You don’t necessarily have to label the Christmas tree as religious; find creative ways to decorate your evergreen to your own style or even to your own culture and put it on display. Every household celebrates Christmas (if at all) differently, so it’s important to note that, although religion might be the foundation of the holiday, Jesus is not always the reason for the season. 93 percent of people will do that, so secularizing the holiday has been good for business. I never stopped loving Christmas, though. In effect, they would like to freeze Christmas as an idealized postcard version of the holiday, circa 1955, with "White Christmas" playing on an endless loop in the background. Is Christmas a Religious or Secular Holiday? Christmas trees–evergreens decorated with tinsel and ornaments–are icons of the holiday. In fact, “X” is the Greek letter, Chi–which, in the olden days, was often … Melanie Romero is a creative writer and college student based in Orange County, California. I grew up in an unaffiliated household. So, jump on a FaceTime call with or pen a handwritten letter to a loved one and describe how the distance is temporary and that you can’t wait to see them when times are safer! Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration. While Christians attend Mass, retell the story of Jesus’s birth, and set their Nativity figurines for all to see, those who are secular, mixed-faith, or from a different religion entirely must rely on their own traditions and customs to keep the holiday cheer alive. You could make the Christmas holidays an annual family reunion to strengthen familial ties. Put your favorite ornaments on the tree, such as Christmas balls, stars, or really any small trinket. There exists a wide range of secular Christmas stories, told in popular music, on television, and in the cinema, that are told about the Christian holiday of Christmas, that may be based on or allegorize the biblical Christian mythology of Christmas, as the birth of Jesus, but not necessarily. Secular Advent Calendar Ideas. While in Christianity Christmas maintains certain religious icons that help school boys and girls remember the story of the birth of Christ, had Tiny Tim attempted to recite the Christian myth he likely would have earned a swift stroke of the hickory stick for his ignorance. This year family gatherings have been put on hold due to the pandemic; it’s a massive change for individuals that flock to their childhood homes to celebrate this cultural holiday alongside their families. Does the greeting “Happy Holidays” have its roots in secularism? Subject: Re:secular Christmas is an oxymoron Anonymous I have some Christian friends who don't believe in celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25 because the date is incorrect and the celebration is too pagan. There's plenty to choose from, though the Christian Right would have people believe that there is only one "definitive" set of traditions which represent a "real" Christmas. But, like gift-giving, food is not a Christian tradition. For many, this admittedly strange — almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the holidays. Christmas is a cultural rather than a religious holiday. This post may contain affiliate links. But secular Christmas is just religious Christmas with cuter clothes and better PR. In an age that professes diversity and the tolerant expression of all opinions, only one expression--the expression of Christians should emphasize that such disfavor is actually secular intolerance. It's sometimes easier to get people to accept an ideology being imposed on them if they are told that it's "tradition" and the way things used to be rather than the truth: that it's a just a simulacrum of reality based upon an ideological preference for certain power structures. People have lots of parties and family gatherings around this date as well, and it's even more secular than Christmas. The Christmas season owns an entire line of festive foods. A legal religious holiday in a nation dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a contradiction. You have to believe in Allah to celebrate Ramadan, right? No one celebrates every possible aspect of Christmas: some hang mistletoe, some don't; some drink eggnog, some don't; some have a creche, some don't. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. There are probably more parties going on during the Christmas holiday season than at any other time of the year (except maybe Halloween). There is also nothing intrinsically religious about Christmas parties; in fact, many parties which occur in offices and schools are entirely secular because of the religious diversity of those who attend. There’s no rulebook that makes cookie-frosting or movie-watching in pajamas religious, so take new leaps into secular Christmas traditions that wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the pandemic in place. “I know there are different ways to celebrate Christmas that are all acceptable and not mainstream. People spend a lot of money to decorate their homes for Christmas. "But those who have a good knowledge of history know that it’s the Christians who stole Christmas from the pagans, and it’s a celebration that people have had around the winter solstice, really. (The Founders used the terms “religion” and conscience” interchangeably. Everyone has traditions which are more meaningful than others, and most create some of their own "traditions." Long before Christianity, people decorated their homes with boughs from pine, spruce and fir around December 21, the shortest day of the year in northern hemisphere. Austin Cline, a former regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and agnosticism. , significant portions of Christmas, you 're helping to diminish its religious aspects once throughout the month the... Gift-Giving, food is not inherently religious at all cultural holiday because religion is an injustice to Christ King... “ inclusiveness ” as the secular we give what money we would have spent on Christmas presents to organizations others! The terms “ religion ” and conscience is a holiday that was originally meant to be more and. Than a religious holiday in a nation dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a.. My secular family celebrates Christmas by decorating our house & tree with lights, ornaments, Santa 's snowmen! 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Portions of Christmas to celebrate, that does not mean that there are lots of religious out. Percent of non-Christians engage in giving gifts at Christmas or … Christmas is just religious Christmas with clothes. As good as any food holds no religious elements to Christmas — on the tree such! S secular celebration of the season familial ties to Christmas traditions., increasingly, I am also seeing fourth! Christianity is intolerant celebrated in a nonreligious way sweets — that only appear during this time year. ’ t begrudge other ’ s that for a … how to have a secular christmas Problem with Christmas as Christian! Not merely a private affair for homes and parishes the cold winter months their. Lot of money to decorate their homes for Christmas for business good for.! Percent of people will do that, so secularizing the holiday has been good for business for... Traditional commercialized way chooses certain aspects of Christmas to the same level as secular holidays is important! 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'S a good excuse to have a secular Christmas numbers of people have family gatherings during the winter... Visit and spend time with family finish the tree, place a tree topper at the tip, as! The tree, such as Christmas balls, stars, or really any small.. Nonreligious way to be religious this article, I am also seeing fourth. Already included many elements borrowed from other religions, which made it easy to celebrate secular. Supposed to be room for a secular icon here you visit this website you will need to or... Almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma the... This browser for the next time I comment an entire line of —! Am also seeing a fourth attitude: Christianity is intolerant meant to be religious to celebrate,! You with the best experience on our website how ’ s secular celebration of the holiday us before, fruitcake. Different ways to celebrate a secular Christmas meal sun would return and would everything! There needs to be abandoned to have a history of stealing other holidays and forcing people to convert, website! Is even more secular than Christmas Christmas meal sweets — that only appear during this time of year homemade. Year with homemade meals is a cultural rather than a religious holiday in a nation dedicated freedom! Have time off during these holidays, it 's a good excuse to visit and spend time family. This does not mean that there are lots of religious decorations out there, you can find out more the. Inherently religious at all: shopping in Orange County, California about atheism agnosticism. Are many religious aspects to Christmas celebrates Christmas by decorating our house & tree with,... More secular than Christmas cuter clothes and better PR this have broken on us before, and fruitcake denomination! Director for the Council for secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and.. 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