Atheists can love Christmas, too: Alternative options for Sunday | Buzz Blog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Atheists can love Christmas, too: Alternative options for Sunday

Posted By on December 23, 2011, 3:30 PM

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Every year, Christians across the globe prepare for the (materialistic) holiday in honor of the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ. I loved Christmas growing up, but I had no clue who the little baby “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” was when I was belting out “Born in Bethlehem” in my little kid sing-song group.--- I just figured it was another catchy Christmas tune like “Rudolph,” although I believed in that fictitious animal … for a while.

Okay, everyone take a deep breath: I’m an atheist. Wow, was that as awkward for you as it was for me? Let’s move on, shall we?

Yes, I celebrate Christmas. In fact, my childhood house looked like the North Pole, it was so decked out in holiday cheer. The whole month of December was Christmas for me. Our tree was always authentic. The family would trek to a little tree farm in Tremonton (perfect, right?) and by the end of the night it would be a sparkling show of ornaments and lights. Every single Department 56 North Pole Series piece in existence surrounded the rest of the tree room. Plenty of sugar cookies danced in my stomach, going well with the plum fairies bopping around in there in anticipation for Christmas Eve. Never once did I think, “Oh joy! I can’t wait for Jesus’ birthday bash!” It was always about SANTA (like Will Ferrell says it in Elf). Santa Claus—you know, the round magical man in the red-velour Juicy Couture tracksuit trimmed in faux “polar bear” fur. He will always remain the man of my dreams. On Christmas, with Mannheim Steamroller as my background music, I ripped my way into countless “I want that!” conquests. Even then, however, I understood that there was some sort of magical element of the holidays that didn’t come from the awesomely disgusting amount of toys I received each year.

Now that I’m older, I have found that some are shocked I celebrate, even believing that I am hypocritical for rejoicing in a “religious” holiday—some going as far as telling me I should not do so.

I have no desire to get into a debate, but nothing special was happening 2,000-odd years ago on the 25th of December. Matter of fact, our Christ’s Mass is a sizable amount of ancient pagan practices, mixed with bits of Christian traditions and blended with a couple of modern creations into a scrumptious Christmas pie. If you want to know what comes from where, I suggest you Google it. St. Nick is the patron saint of seamen and children.

Back to the materialism thing. I have every right to be selfish on Christmas. But you religious types, why should you get presents on someone else’s birthday? Should not you pay more tithing or bring a birthday cake to church? Everyone see how this holiday is kind of blurry as to the religion part? Maybe it’s just my spiked eggnog.

Back to me. I understand the season is about hope, family and humanity. I could do it at any time, but December 25 is traditional and I happen to have the day off. The festival is called Christmas, it contains the name of a religious entity that I do not regard as a god, and frankly, it gives my family another excuse to eat a lot of extremely rich food and get together to remember one another exists. Also, it’s magical and fun. With all the “joyful and triumphant” bulls--- going on in the world, why wouldn’t my family want to have another excuse to eat, drink, and be merry?

In the end, I celebrate whatever I want. That’s the beauty of being something that has no ties to anything. I get to pick and choose. So, naturally, I want to celebrate a holiday that has presents involved. Just like I want to celebrate a holiday that I can get dressed up and pretend I go to Hogwarts or am a nurse—naughty or nice.

A few tips for spending your time Sunday, with our without your family: 

- Brunch at the Grand America Garden Cafe, starting at 10 a.m. Make a reservation.

- Skiing at your favorite resort. They're all open, and while the snow isn't great yet this year, it beats going to church.

- Tubing and/or Nordic skiing at Soldier Hollow, starting at 9 a.m.

- Brewvies opens for screenings at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas.

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