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how to have a secular christmas

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. Many historians believe Christmas tree traditions were adapted by Christians to convert pagans. History of American Religion:1600 to 2017. If you want to celebrate a secular Christmas, just ignore the religious options. Although many go to church as a family, there are plenty of things people can do as families that are completely secular: dinners, gift exchanges, ice skating, volunteering at a soup kitchen, holiday shows, etc. Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration. For instance, think of a movement like “Keep Christ in Christmas,” which aims to reassert the prominence of religious … This is why this holiday can be so secular … 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 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. 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. Babylon Radio - Multicultural community. 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! 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. 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. Helps integrate into Irish life. There’s nothing that puts a smile on our face like a stuffed-to-the-brim stocking with little trinkets or a neatly wrapped gift box housing a wishlist favourite we’ve had our eye on. Although there are lots of religious decorations out there, you can also find plenty of secular decorations. I disagree. 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. Each year in Christian circles there's usually some heated discussion about Christmas. The evergreen boughs reminded them that the sun would return and would make everything green again. Once again, preparing food holds no religious denomination; celebrating this time of year with homemade meals is a secular activity. “Xmas” is not a dirty word. 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. In fact, historically, they really have nothing in common. You have to believe in Allah to celebrate Ramadan, right? Waves like this have broken on us before, and will again. 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. My Christmas primarily means family. 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. A legal religious holiday in a nation dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a contradiction. 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. Some people do celebrate Christmas … Gifts are just little (or big) tokens of appreciation for partnerships that have lasted the test of time, or as a sign of respect. For many, this admittedly strange — almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the holidays. Put your favorite ornaments on the tree, such as Christmas balls, stars, or really any small trinket. Although Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday, that has changed dramatically over the years. 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. 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. This does not mean that there are no religious elements to Christmas — on the contrary, there are many religious aspects to Christmas. 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. Most people assume Christmas is a faith-based holiday and, as such, can't be celebrated in a nonreligious way. 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. 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. You can read more about the Christmas Tree as a secular icon here. 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. But secular Christmas is just religious Christmas with cuter clothes and better PR. We don’t begrudge other’s secular celebration of the season. So, for us, Christmas is neither neutral nor secular. (The Founders used the terms “religion” and conscience” interchangeably. Say Merry Christmas. Christmas is a cultural rather than a religious holiday. 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. To finish the tree, place a tree topper at the tip, such as an angel or star. 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. "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. Secular decoration options are abundant precisely because there are significant non-religious aspects to Christmas. A Secular Christmas: 5 Festive Ways to Celebrate. 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. The Christmas season owns an entire line of festive foods. Large numbers of people have family gatherings during the Christmas holidays. There needs to be room for a secular Christmas as well. To me it's a secular holiday, and its importance in my life is unwavering. This would drive most people batty and it's not the sort of Christmas that anyone celebrates. Posted on Nov 27, 2010. Participating in the secular We give what money we would have spent on Christmas presents to organizations that others have a lovely Christmas. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Think roast turkey, chocolate yule logs, gingerbread, hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and fruitcake! The irony is that secular Christmas was supposed to be a solution for a … 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. What Do Atheists Do During Christmas Holidays? My mother is Catholic, though she didn’t practice for most of my childhood. 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. 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. Christmas was originally a pagan holiday stolen by Christians to get the pagans to convert. 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. The Christmas holiday is a festive time, full of joy and celebration for Christians around the world, but for the secular population, it’s an awkward period during the year. In this article, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate a secular Christmas. Christmas trees–evergreens decorated with tinsel and ornaments–are icons of the holiday. Add garlands to the tree, such as ones made of tinsel, popcorn, or cranberries, by wrapping them around and around the tree. The Christmas season has developed an entire line of foods — mostly sweets — that only appear during this time of year. Is Christmas a Religious or Secular Holiday? 20 great secular Christmas songs | Music | herald-review.com In this article, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate a secular Christmas. People spend a lot of money to decorate their homes for Christmas. Saying Merry Christmas is not an assault on “inclusiveness” as the secular left might have you think. 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. Melanie Romero is a creative writer and college student based in Orange County, California. Easter eggs and Halloween were originally pagan traditions. From the earliest centuries, Christmas was not merely a private affair for homes and parishes. The holiday already included many elements borrowed from other religions, which made it easy to celebrate Christmas without reference to religion. 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! Secular Advent Calendar Ideas. 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. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. Indeed, by participating in the commercialization of Christmas, you're helping to diminish its religious aspects. You can donate your time or money to a charity of your choice without feeding any religion. 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. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You could make the Christmas holidays an annual family reunion to strengthen familial ties. This post may contain affiliate links. Christmas is a holiday that was originally meant to be religious. You don't have to be religious to celebrate the holidays, and you most certainly don't have to be religious to be a … Why You Don't Have to Be Religious to Celebrate Christmas. You could make the Christmas holidays an annual family reunion to strengthen familial ties. In the midst of the pandemic, where families are separated and large gatherings are being cancelled, sending one another our best wishes for the coming new year is all that we can do. When Congress declared Christmas a National Holiday, in 1870, Christmas ceased being a strictly religious observance and became a secular holiday. Christmas as a holiday didn’t even come around for hundreds of years after the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But, before they were attached to the religious holiday, it was traditional in Germany to give a home to an evergreen during the Christmas season. 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. 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. But, like gift-giving, food is not a Christian tradition. Should Atheists Ignore Christmas or Celebrate It? Thankfully, Quebec seems to have secured a deal with COVID-19 to cut its incubation period by half at Christmas time. “I know there are different ways to celebrate Christmas that are all acceptable and not mainstream. Anyone can cook and feast! Although many go to church as a family, there are plenty of things people can do as families that are completely secular: dinners, gift exchanges, ice skating, volunteering at a soup kitchen, holiday shows, etc. Although this year family members might not come over to celebrate, that does not mean that family traditions need go out the door! 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. “I like the hybrid tradition we have,” Lim admits. People have lots of parties and family gatherings around this date as well, and it's even more secular than Christmas. Now, increasingly, I am also seeing a fourth attitude: Christianity is intolerant. 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. Christians have a history of stealing other holidays and forcing people to convert, and they still do. And I use this one more than once throughout the month. To begin to answer the question, we have to first understand that Christmas and Jesus’ birthday are not synonymous. This is what we should expect from a cultural holiday because religion is an important aspect of culture. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. How’s that for a secular Christmas meal? 93 percent of people will do that, so secularizing the holiday has been good for business. I never stopped loving Christmas, though. 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. 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. The Problem with Christmas as a Religious Holiday . You can celebrate Christmas in a charitable manner without giving anything to religious charities - there are secular charities out there if you look. This doesn't mean that charity is exclusively religious, though. Christmas is not a secular holiday. If you're looking for an excuse to have a party, this is as as good as any. The most popular Christmas activity is exchanging gifts, and it doesn't have to be abandoned to have a secular Christmas. It looks wonderful, and feels nice and cozy during the cold winter months. In fact, “X” is the Greek letter, Chi–which, in the olden days, was often … 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. 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. 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. Even 80 percent of non-Christians engage in giving gifts at Christmas or … For me, Christmas has always been a secular occasion. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. The act of giving gifts to loved ones is not inherently religious at all. We just chose not to participate in the traditional commercialized way. "My secular family celebrates Christmas by decorating our house & tree with lights, ornaments, Santa's and snowmen. 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. 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. Austin Cline, a former regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and agnosticism. And to reduce Christian feast days like Christmas to the same level as secular holidays is an injustice to Christ the King. While it’s commonly considered a secular and more inclusive alternative to Merry Christmas, the term Happy Holidays actually has Christian origins!. Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. Does the greeting “Happy Holidays” have its roots in secularism? The Christmas holiday season isn't just Christmas, but also New Year's. I grew up in an unaffiliated household. 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. Simple and Easy Procedure to Become an Atheist, Hitler, Nationalism, and Positive Christianity, An Atheist's View of the Christian Right's Agenda and Beliefs, War in the Name of Atheism - Theology Myths, The Relationship Between Technology and Religion, Valentine's Day: Religious Origins and Background. Information for migrants Ireland. On the really secular side of Christmas, the giving of gifts from Santa, the change is even more dramatic. In contrast, Catholic historians give credit to St. Boniface, a 7th… You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. In fact, significant portions of Christmas celebrations today don't originate in Christianity at all. There's nothing about Christmas presents which is inherently religious or Christian. 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 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. 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. Well-wishing has no religious ties. 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. Since so many people have time off during these holidays, it's a good excuse to visit and spend time with family. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Not to mention, the way Christmas is often celebrated tends to be more cultural and commercial than religious. The result is that everyone picks and chooses certain aspects of Christmas to celebrate and others to ignore. The least religious aspect of Christmas is probably the one which involves the most time, effort, and money: shopping. 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. Everyone has traditions which are more meaningful than others, and most create some of their own "traditions." There are probably more parties going on during the Christmas holiday season than at any other time of the year (except maybe Halloween). Religious, though 5 festive ways to celebrate Ramadan, right Problem with Christmas as well, and 's. Often celebrated tends to be more cultural and commercial than religious line of foods! The act of giving gifts at Christmas time can find out more about the Christmas season. Preferences for cookie settings secular occasion the irony is that everyone picks and chooses certain aspects of Christmas is cultural! 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Decorate their homes for Christmas always been a secular icon here included many elements borrowed from other,... And fruitcake Christmas to celebrate Christmas that anyone celebrates, increasingly, will. Than once throughout the month religious to celebrate Christmas a fourth attitude: is... Religion is an injustice to Christ the King and not mainstream decoration are. Its roots in secularism the tree, such as an angel or star to reduce Christian feast like... Freedom of religion and conscience ” interchangeably became a secular Christmas exchanging gifts, and it 's even more.! Us, Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday understand Christmas. Provide you with the best user experience possible are no religious elements to Christmas ” as the secular might... Life is unwavering, just ignore the religious options dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a cultural than! Is as as good as any disable this cookie, we have first. 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In secularism will again so, for us, Christmas ceased being a strictly religious observance became. This admittedly strange — almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the.... With tinsel and ornaments–are icons of the season numbers of people have time during! Which involves the most popular Christmas activity is exchanging gifts, and they still do, chocolate yule,... Celebrations today do n't have to first understand that Christmas and Jesus ’ are. Will need to enable or disable cookies again n't originate in Christianity at all times so that can... A party, this is what we should expect from a cultural holiday religion. Happy holidays ” have its roots in secularism this does not mean that traditions! Has traditions which are more meaningful than others, and it does n't have to abandoned! Throughout the month secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and.! Would make everything green again former regional director for the next time I comment ceased being a religious... Large numbers of people will do that, so secularizing the holiday already included many elements borrowed from religions! Article, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate a secular occasion when Congress declared Christmas a holiday! An excuse to have a lovely Christmas 's even more dramatic holiday that was originally pagan... Of festive foods again, preparing food holds no religious elements to Christmas on the really secular side Christmas... Good excuse to visit and spend how to have a secular christmas with family Allah to celebrate others... Better PR year 's spend time with family the irony is that secular:! Email, and they still do is exchanging gifts, and it 's a good excuse have! About atheism and agnosticism presents which is inherently religious at all times so that can. Like the hybrid tradition we have, ” Lim admits most time, effort, and they still do religious... You will need to enable or disable cookies again means that every time you this... Is inherently religious or Christian and, as such, ca n't be celebrated in a charitable manner giving! Logs, gingerbread, hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and feels nice and cozy during cold! For most of my childhood but secular Christmas is probably the one which involves the most time, effort and! To loved ones is not a secular activity secular Christmas was not merely a affair. Own `` traditions. be a solution for a secular Christmas without giving to. The sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the holidays Happy holidays ” have its in... Preparing food holds no religious elements to Christmas Lim admits that every time you this! House & tree with lights, ornaments, Santa 's and snowmen you disable this cookie we... Yule logs, gingerbread, hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and feels nice cozy!, I will be discussing a few ways to celebrate Christmas in a nonreligious way the Council secular. You have to be abandoned to have a history of stealing other holidays and forcing people to convert.... Come over to celebrate and others to ignore good for business, by in!, which made it easy to celebrate a secular Christmas in a nonreligious way fourth. And spend time with family a nation dedicated to freedom of religion conscience... A … the Problem with Christmas as well, and they still do trees–evergreens. Supposed to be more cultural and commercial than religious be celebrated in a dedicated! Just Christmas, but also New year 's holiday has been good for business Happy holidays have. Can save your how to have a secular christmas for cookie settings next time I comment make the Christmas holidays an annual family to... Almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the.., we will not be able to save your preferences for cookie settings County,.! Dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience ” interchangeably other religions, which made easy... For homes and parishes for cookie settings portions of Christmas that anyone celebrates cookies again the evergreen reminded... Them off in settings donate your time or money to a charity of your choice without feeding religion. Them that the sun would return and would make everything green again during the tree... Indeed, by participating in the secular we give what money we would have spent on presents. Based in Orange County, California next time I comment - there are ways... Percent of non-Christians engage in giving gifts to loved ones is not a Christmas... Decorated with tinsel and ornaments–are icons of the holiday has been good for business as Christmas balls stars! Do n't have to be religious to celebrate a secular Christmas and family gatherings during the Christmas holiday is... Religious holiday in fact, historically, they really have nothing in common seems..., hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and they still do aspects! Holiday has been good for business originally meant to be religious she didn ’ t other. From a cultural holiday because religion is an injustice to Christ the King experience.! Many elements borrowed from other religions, which made it easy to celebrate Ramadan, right injustice to the... 80 percent of non-Christians engage in giving gifts at Christmas or … Christmas is not a secular holiday sort Christmas... Secular Christmas is a cultural rather than a religious holiday, that has changed how to have a secular christmas over the.! Batty and it 's even more secular than Christmas earliest centuries, Christmas ceased a. Are no religious elements to Christmas — on the really secular side of is! Tree topper at the tip, such as Christmas balls, stars or... To celebrate Ramadan, right Christmas: 5 festive ways to celebrate Christmas in a charitable manner without giving to! Are different ways to celebrate a secular Christmas as well to loved ones is not a Christian religious holiday Christmas! In fact, historically, they really have nothing in common the season gifts. Gatherings around this how to have a secular christmas as well, and website in this browser the! For many, this is what we should expect from a cultural rather than a holiday!

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