24 December 2013

The spirit of Christmas

Even though I'm an atheist, I celebrate Christmas with my family. I mean, why not? Christmas itself is the descendent of the Winter Solstice festivals of Germanic pagans, so it's not like one religion has a claim on it. I know I'm not alone either – many non-believers still like to celebrate family, friends, and the spirit of giving.

If anything bugs me, it's not so much the rampant consumerism or even the occasionally overwhelming obligation to see lots of extended family that you may or may not actually like. Hell, those of us who have such obligations ought to count ourselves lucky given how many people are alone on the holidays.

No, what bugs me is the spirit of bitterness and self-righteousness that comes from certain religious conservative every year, as reliable a showing as the day-after-Christmas-megaturd. You can't throw a rock at a conservative without hitting some rant about how there's a "war on Christmas", and some people have the audacity to say "happy holidays" or celebrate in ways that are meaningful to them.

This holiday, I say we all celebrate the spirit of Mind Your Own Fucking Business. Let's not begrudge each other for what we find meaningful this time of year. If your religious friends are posting "Jesus is the reason for the season" memes on Facebook, let it go. If you're a religious person and other people are celebrating Christmas in a secular manner, let it go. How others celebrate the holidays does not affect you, so let's leave each other at peace.

If there's anything that unites people this time of year, it's a spirit of shared humanism. We give to the poor, we volunteer at homeless shelters, we go out of our way to make time for friends and family, and we treat each other to gifts. Regardless of what exactly you're celebrating, I think most of us can agree that those are good things.

Merry Christmas!


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