We don’t begrudge other’s secular celebration of the season. There is also nothing intrinsically religious about Christmas parties; in fact, many parties which occur in offices and schools are entirely secular because of the religious diversity of those who attend. While it’s commonly considered a secular and more inclusive alternative to Merry Christmas, the term Happy Holidays actually has Christian origins!. But here in America, where 76% of the country is Christian, non-Christians have adopted the most secular elements of Christmas, like Santa, Christmas trees, snowmen, stockings, etc. “I like the hybrid tradition we have,” Lim admits. For instance, think of a movement like “Keep Christ in Christmas,” which aims to reassert the prominence of religious … The Problem with Christmas as a Religious Holiday . So, jump on a FaceTime call with or pen a handwritten letter to a loved one and describe how the distance is temporary and that you can’t wait to see them when times are safer! On the really secular side of Christmas, the giving of gifts from Santa, the change is even more dramatic. This post may contain affiliate links. Christmas trees–evergreens decorated with tinsel and ornaments–are icons of the holiday. 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Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December.For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular. The act of giving gifts to loved ones is not inherently religious at all. And to reduce Christian feast days like Christmas to the same level as secular holidays is an injustice to Christ the King. A legal religious holiday in a nation dedicated to freedom of religion and conscience is a contradiction. The Christmas season owns an entire line of festive foods. Subject: Re:secular Christmas is an oxymoron Anonymous I have some Christian friends who don't believe in celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25 because the date is incorrect and the celebration is too pagan. Anyone can cook and feast! The irony is that secular Christmas was supposed to be a solution for a … While Christians attend Mass, retell the story of Jesus’s birth, and set their Nativity figurines for all to see, those who are secular, mixed-faith, or from a different religion entirely must rely on their own traditions and customs to keep the holiday cheer alive. While the birth of Jesus Christ is a primary aspect of Christmas for practicing Christians, many of the traditions associated with the holiday -- including the Christmas tree -- are not rooted in Christian religious practices, and a rising number of Americans will have secular celebrations. This would drive most people batty and it's not the sort of Christmas that anyone celebrates. So if you like decorating the house generally or just occasionally for the sake of change, you have lots of non-religious choices: Santa, reindeer, evergreens, lights, mistletoe, etc. The most popular Christmas activity is exchanging gifts, and it doesn't have to be abandoned to have a secular Christmas. The evergreen boughs reminded them that the sun would return and would make everything green again. There needs to be room for a secular Christmas as well. One may not get to sit down at the dinner table, go ice skating, or wander around a holiday market because of the restrictions in place, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make room for new household traditions. Most people assume Christmas is a faith-based holiday and, as such, can't be celebrated in a nonreligious way. Little, if any of it, is religious in nature, so celebrating this time of year with special foods and meals is an inherently secular activity. In an age that professes diversity and the tolerant expression of all opinions, only one expression--the expression of Christians should emphasize that such disfavor is actually secular intolerance. The Christmas holiday season isn't just Christmas, but also New Year's. For many, this admittedly strange — almost paradoxical — relationship between the sacred and secular presents a serious dilemma around the holidays. It has been said, ad nauseum, that secular traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and even the word “ Christmas ” should be condemned and abolished by Christians because they distract and detract from the true meaning of Christ’s birth. But, before they were attached to the religious holiday, it was traditional in Germany to give a home to an evergreen during the Christmas season. Christmas is a cultural rather than a religious holiday. The only way for the gifts to have any religious meaning is if you personally invest them with one; otherwise, the gifts are simply of the sort which you might give other times during the year. We just chose not to participate in the traditional commercialized way. Think roast turkey, chocolate yule logs, gingerbread, hot chocolate, mince pies, mulled wine, and fruitcake! Add garlands to the tree, such as ones made of tinsel, popcorn, or cranberries, by wrapping them around and around the tree. Posted on Nov 27, 2010. Waves like this have broken on us before, and will again. Although Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday, that has changed dramatically over the years. This doesn't mean that charity is exclusively religious, though. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. Secular decoration options are abundant precisely because there are significant non-religious aspects to Christmas. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. Christmas is a holiday that was originally meant to be religious. There’s no rulebook that makes cookie-frosting or movie-watching in pajamas religious, so take new leaps into secular Christmas traditions that wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the pandemic in place. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. For me, Christmas has always been a secular occasion. You have to believe in Allah to celebrate Ramadan, right? There's nothing the least bit Christian about Christmas shopping, so if you're someone who actually enjoys the sights, sounds and smells of shopping at Christmastime, you can do so without wondering if you're just giving in to popular religious celebration. Melanie Romero is a creative writer and college student based in Orange County, California. Long before Christianity, people decorated their homes with boughs from pine, spruce and fir around December 21, the shortest day of the year in northern hemisphere. A Secular Christmas: 5 Festive Ways to Celebrate. Given the prevalence of Christian culture in much of the West, it is hard for Christians to understand the argument for declaring Christmas to be a secular rather than a religious observation. Participating in the secular We give what money we would have spent on Christmas presents to organizations that others have a lovely Christmas. There exists a wide range of secular Christmas stories, told in popular music, on television, and in the cinema, that are told about the Christian holiday of Christmas, that may be based on or allegorize the biblical Christian mythology of Christmas, as the birth of Jesus, but not necessarily. Helps integrate into Irish life. And I use this one more than once throughout the month. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In the midst of the pandemic, where families are separated and large gatherings are being cancelled, sending one another our best wishes for the coming new year is all that we can do. It’s important to note how food can bridge the distance between two cultures: Jewish people, who celebrate Hanukkah, oftentimes go to Chinese eateries, since it’s the only type of establishment conveniently open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Although many go to church as a family, there are plenty of things people can do as families that are completely secular: dinners, gift exchanges, ice skating, volunteering at a soup kitchen, holiday shows, etc. Christmas is not a secular holiday. Well-wishing has no religious ties. If you want to celebrate a secular Christmas, just ignore the religious options. Really any small trinket that, so secularizing the holiday has been good for business it wonderful. 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