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to wonder why non-Christians celebrate Christmas

(196 Posts)
MissMashMissMash Tue 23-Nov-10 18:41:50

Am not trying to offend anyone here but am interested to know what others think.

I often think that if I wasn't a Christian I wouldn't celebrate Christmas as it wouldn't mean anything to me. I just don't really why people spend so much time, money and stress on something which is meaningless to them.

As it is I don't actually spend much money at Christmas as it isn't about that for me. If it was completely meaningless for me I would just treat it as any other day I think, not sure though what do others think?

plupervert Tue 23-Nov-10 18:44:11

Nothing else to do on the day? My ILs work to a different calendar, so just have the day off and eat a lot, too!

theevildead2 Tue 23-Nov-10 18:44:15

Because its tradition isnt it?

People celebrate Thanksgiving, Halloween, Queen's Day, lot of holidays for no religious reason

Goblinchild Tue 23-Nov-10 18:45:17

There's the religious Christmas, but for many it's a secular feast with FC and family as the focus, rather than a nativity.
I have got friends of other faiths, they tend to send a card with Season's Greetings and have a tree if they are liberal.

wintersnow Tue 23-Nov-10 18:45:41

I think it is to do with tradition rather than celebrating a Christian festival for non-Christians. It's a lot of fun for most people, especially kids, and a chance for families to meet up, eat good food, get a bit drunk & generally get cheered up even though winter is on it's way!

5DollarShake Tue 23-Nov-10 18:48:26

I'm not a churchgoer, nor Christian, but celebrate it for the following reasons:

- It's the main family get together of the year
- it is packed with family traditions, and we are creating new ones for our DC
- it's a nice way to celebrate the culmination of another year
- gathering round the table for (plenty of) good food is heart-warming
- we have DC now, and celebrating the joy of Christmas with them is exciting
- there's general good feeling and excitement in the air in the build up to Christmas

I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons, but this is off the top of my head.

specialsmasher Tue 23-Nov-10 18:49:02

The fact is, it has moved well away from any religious significance. It's a winter tradition, and people enjoy it, without really caring about what is being marked by Christians, apart from as part of that tradition.

POFAKKEDDthechair Tue 23-Nov-10 18:49:36

It was a festival long before Christianity. The church just decided to superimpose the christian festival onto a pagan one. I appreciate the significance of both festivals myself.

sarah293 Tue 23-Nov-10 18:50:35

Message withdrawn

POFAKKEDDthechair Tue 23-Nov-10 18:51:06

I wouldn't say that Riven. A significant part of it has to do with Christianity.

GoingToBonnieDoon Tue 23-Nov-10 18:51:09

I think there is an assumption that Christmas is only a religious event, but I think in modern Britain for many non religious people it is a celebration of family, friends and togetherness.

Christmas is very important to our family but it has no religious link for me personally at all. Its an opportunity in the calendar year to spend time with family (most people have some time off over Christmas) and when a family is split the length and breadth of the country thats really important.

pozzled Tue 23-Nov-10 18:51:19

I celebrate it for the cultural and traditional aspects. I think it is a wonderful family festival. I also love hearing nativities and carols, I think the christmas story is beautiful. I just don't believe it myself, although I respect the fact that others do.

I also think it's nice to celebrate St George's Day, or St. Patrick's Day, etc depending on your nationality- but I don't believe that St. George ever killed a dragon and rescued the damsel in distress.

yama Tue 23-Nov-10 18:51:43

YABU. Is it so hard to imagine why non-Christians enjoy time off work, getting together with family, watching their children having a wonderful time etc? Really?

POFAKKEDDthechair Tue 23-Nov-10 18:52:51

The christmas story - that of God born into poverty as a stranger in a foreign land, to grow into a man that preached unconditional love, forgiveness, tolerance and social justice, is rather more important than the story of George and the Dragon.

hocuspontas Tue 23-Nov-10 18:53:44

Do you have school age children? They make Christmas cards, Christmas hats, Christmas decorations and Christmas presents then have a Christmas concert, Christmas lunch, Christmas Fayre, panto visit, Santa visit etc etc. It's pretty hard to ignore grin

KERALA1 Tue 23-Nov-10 18:54:41

As Pok said - there was a pagan festival to cheer everyone up in the bleak midwinter long before the Christians adopted it as Christs birthday so rather an odd OP. I think theres a human need to have a collective event at this time of year and Christmas fits the bill. Can you imagine how dreary life would be if there was nothing lively happening between bonfire night and the May bank holidays?

GoingToBonnieDoon Tue 23-Nov-10 18:54:59

POFAKK thats just it though, to me it isn't more important.

To me, its no more important than St George or Cinderella, buts thats because I'm not religious.

ilovehens Tue 23-Nov-10 18:55:52

Christmas has its origins in ancient pagan festivals and the Church took an interest in having a major festival at this time so that it could convert more people.

The Puritans weren't even permitted to celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins.

MummyDoIt Tue 23-Nov-10 18:55:54

As an atheist, I celebrate the secular traditions of Christmas. There was a pagan midwinter festival long before the Christians came on the scene. The feast, the tree, the candles, the Yule log are all secular traditions. Christianity had a habit of imposing religious festivals on existing secular festivals. I'm happy to let you Christians get on with the your nativity and church services. Do me the courtesty of respecting my wish to enjoy the food, presents, decorations, etc which constitute my festival.

POFAKKEDDthechair Tue 23-Nov-10 18:56:15

I'm not 'religious' either, but I still think the story has huge significance.

AMumInScotland Tue 23-Nov-10 18:56:51

It's the single biggest family celebration of the year. The one where everyone gets together round the table for once. Where they give each other presents, spend time together, send cards to people they aren't going to see, watch a film together in the afternoon, or the new Doctor Who, or the Eastenders Omnibus or whatever.

It isn't "meaningless" to non-Christians, it just has a different meaning to the one it does for you.

I guess it might help if we didn't call two completely separate things "Christmas" but one is a religious festival, the other a traditional celebration. Some people only do one or the other, some do both.

GoingToBonnieDoon Tue 23-Nov-10 18:58:01

It can of course be more significant to some, and less significant to others. It means nothing to me at all, but its such a personal thing.

POFAKKEDDthechair Tue 23-Nov-10 18:58:03

Well I suppose it depends upon your definition of religious. I shy away from institutional religion and believe in secular education and state, but do think Christ nailed it when it came to his teachings.

GoingToBonnieDoon Tue 23-Nov-10 19:01:28

When I say not religious I mean, I believe there is no deity, that Christ was not the son of God. Therefore, the story of the nativity means little to me.

Litchick Tue 23-Nov-10 19:02:28

It has cultural significance to us.
Many of the traditions pre date xmas anyway...
I am happy to have a celebration in the midst of winter to chase away the gloom.
I am happy to have a celebration of sharing plenty wiht others.
I am happy to have an enforced period of rest and family time.

The making of the cake and pudding with my DC, buying and decorating the trees, the garland on my door, the turkey, the pudding, the giving of gifts,'s all good.

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