Home > Mental Rumblings > MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! TO ALL!


As I was preparing for this upcoming holiday season (Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years) I had ample opportunity to do a little thinking about what Xmas means to me and why, despite being an Atheist, I celebrate and anticipate this holiday with so much excitement and fond recollection. 

As a child Xmas was a time of wonderment, Santa Claus, Reindeer, colorful decorations, candy, toys, music, trees, friends, warm and kindly visits with neighbors and relatives.   But, mostly there was this butterfly-like thrill in my gut associated with the glut of Xmas morning.  For a child what could be better?  Once a year I was treated like a prince and showered with gifts and warm memories. 

One of the somewhat unique features of Xmas at my house was the lack of religious teachings, or at least I never really noticed any.  There were never Xmas Eve service away from home, never any forced attendance of special services or whatever Xians do on this holiday.  No, my Xmas very secular, personal, family oriented and perfect (for us). 

Fast Forward to the present. 

I still insist on saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to my patients when they leave my office.  I don’t feel that anyone should ever take offense to someone’s well wishing.  This is foolish reasoning.  There is nothing more abrasive about wishing someone a Merry Xmas than there is saying ‘have a nice day’.  Why would I care if a Xian wished me a Happy Easter or offered to pray for me?   Both may be a complete waste of time, but they are kind offerings and hurt nobody! 

For me, in the end, Christmas is a Traditional time to spoil my children, and Wife.  It is a time of the year when I try to do extra for other people who may be less fortunate than myself.  I put money in the salvation army bucket, I read my 3 year old ‘The night Before Christmas’, I even watch that dumb movie about the BB Gun.  I love Xmas, I love what it has brought to me and my family.  

I am really curious how other Atheists approach this holiday.  Do any of you have fond memories of Xmas past?  Is Xmas just a pain in you ass?  Does a stranger wishing you ‘Merry Christmas’ piss you off? 

Merry Christmas,


  1. December 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I think when people get steamed about someone wishing them a Merry Christmas, more often than not it’s because they’re feeling the holiday consumer onslaught and they tar you with the same brush. I agree with you, Anoat, that Christmas is a beautiful thing, one that not even religious politics and consumerism can tarnish. To get in the true spirit of Christmas this year, I’m practicing something called Slow Christmas.

  2. December 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Welcome back WV Heathen. I return greetings of “Merry Christmas? to people who don’t know me, or to some “Happy Holidays” to some or “Happy Winter Festival” to others, it depends on what message I want to get across and what relationship I am in with the person.

    I think pushing for people NOT to presume Christianhood as the default is GOOD. I respect the resistors, they do us all a favor! Even if at the expense of their relationships. I am only willing to push some of my relationships.

  3. Anoat Ozzel
    December 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    @Porter: Greetings and thank you for the thoughful response. I really enjoy Christmas in my own way, which is family and general merriment. Frankly, I do spend too much on gifts, I eat too much, but like you (I assume) there is no pressure to do these things. Because I celebrate Xmas as an athiest I do it out of a love for the ideal tradition of ‘Peace on Earth, good will toward all.’ I really could not care less about the religious elements, at least with regards to how I approach the holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. I hope the season goes off without a hitch! Also, I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.

    @Sabio, It is good to be back. Aside from a busy pace at the office, and a hearty obsession with professional football (NFL), this time of year is pretty low key for me. As a result I hope to do a little bit more writing!

  4. December 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Merry Christmas is fine in my books. But celebrating it can be very expensive. ~_~ Maybe we should follow some social Evangelicals who are promoting something called “Advent Conspiracy”.

  5. December 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly, I grew up in a Secular home also. So all of Christmas stuff was just a familial and communal party. A few years back I realized how religious the songs were. It was pretty funny, for me they were just “Christmas” songs. Merry Christmas, happy holidays for you and your family.

    Oh by the way……..GO VIKINGS

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