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