Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Does An Atheist Celebrate Christmas?

Greetings friends and followers of the lovely Alisha! My name is Kayla, I blog over at Adventures of a Suburban Hippie. Lisha, my lovely best friend, has kindly asked me to write this guest post, and I'm so excited...I have spent the past week brainstorming the perfect post :)

First, a little bit of background information on me! My name is Kayla, I'm 22 and I live in Alabama. I'm getting (almost done with!) my degree in Biophysical Anthropology, and I will be going straight through to get my masters in Library Science. My dream job is to work as a librarian for the government, either at the Smithsonian or for NASA. I'm a long-term, strict vegetarian and, as my blog title suggests, very eco-conscious. I'm an introvert, but a very happy and optimistic one. I also am an atheist. A strong atheist, in fact. 

(Lucy, the Australopithecus. This is the stuff I study. I'm proud of my heritage!)

Guess what my favorite holiday is? Not Earth Day, but...Christmas! I adore everything about Christmas. While nothing will ever beat the Christmases of my youth, living in Hawaii and surfing on all holidays, I still adore it. The trees, the decorations, the smells, the pure sense of joy. I am even starting to like Christmas music again, after it was ruined for me by years of working retail in high school. 

This seems to astound Christians, the idea of an atheist celebrating Christmas. Many of them interject, asking if I call it Krismas or X-Mas (no, it's called Christmas), how I can celebrate a Christian holiday unless I'm secretly a wannabe Christian (it's not a Christian holiday), or, my favorite, if I'm just so materialistic that I celebrate a holiday for the sole purpose of giving and receiving gifts.

Christmas is not a Christian holiday, and I'm not at all bothered that the word "Christ" is in it, though I do roll my eyes when people say "Keep Christ in Christmas." The winter solstice occurs on December 22nd every year, with the sun reaching it's low point in the sky and staying there for three days. The winter solstice, along with the summer solstice and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes were common times for religious and cultural celebrations for many cultures, parts of which have shaped our present day way of celebrating.

The Norse Pagans are responsible for yuletide carols and greetings.

Wiccans came up with wreaths and decorating with holly.

Here's a big shout out to the Druids for coming up with kisses under the mistletoe ;)
Thor, Odin and St. Nicholas are all credited with bringing presents in the night.

Sleipnir, Odin's 8 legged horse, started the tradition of hooves on the rooftop.

The summary? Just because Jesus contributed the name of the celebration does not mean that only believers may celebrate. In fact, if we were tallying, the Norse gods (woot woot, I'm very proud of being Scandinavian!) contributed the most to our modern celebrations! 

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It means cozy sweaters and homemade hot chocolate. It means gathering my large family in one place for the sole purpose of spending time together. It means eating a lot of delicious food. It means exchanging thought-out gifts. It means Christmas trees, Christmas smells, family traditions. 

Of all of the above, the traditions are the most meaningful. Every year, we have lefse (a type of Scandinavian bread) with our Christmas Eve dinner. We gather to open presents. For the 23rd time in my life, I'll get a special pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve. Every morning of December, I open my advent calendar to eat a piece of chocolate. 

This time of the year fills me with so much love and joy. May you all have a beautiful, god-less, heathen, merry time this month <3


  1. Great read! I think most Southern Christians are so close minded they are nearly incapable of reason... which boggles me. Why bother with religious fanaticism in a culture submerged in it? (I live in Northeast Georgia... lol)

  2. Haha, exactly!! It's always been like X, so we don't need any reasoning or conflict as to why it can't be like that... At least learn about the history and meaning behind something you believe in, right!? Too bad not many people take the effort to do so... *sigh* :P