I read a comment today – something along the lines that the poster didn’t understand people who “claimed” to be atheist, but “celebrated” Christmas.
On the surface, I can understand the confusion. However it is really not all that complicated.
When in Rome… do as the Romans do.
We are an atheist family, per se. That is, my husband is Atheist, I am Pagan (Wiccan) and the kids are nothing until they are old enough to decide for themselves. They know about Christianity from Nanna, and they know that Mummy and Daddy do not share those beliefs.
And they grow up in a society that does Christmas. Thus, so do we.
Personally, Christmas poses a problem for me. It’s at the wrong time of year for a start. A Yule tree in the middle of summer is just not right. However, I try to combine my English culture, my Pagan beliefs, and my southern hemisphere location, as best I can. That means that I celebrate all the fun, kid, parts of Christmas and leave Jesus, and Paganism, the hell out of it.
Do I think this is hypocrisy? Not in the slightest. Santa isn’t about Christianity any more than decorated trees are. And if people want to get all historical about it, and demand that Saint Nicholas is indeed a Christian construct, then I will come back with the fact that the decorated tree was initially a Pagan construct, and as such, all Christians that display one are also hypocritical. Along with wreaths, and a whole host of other things to boot.
We don’t live linear lives. We intersect with each other. And Christmas isn’t about religion for everyone. For us, it is about Santa, and decorations and presents and being happy together. It is about a time of year where there are no doctors appointments and no therapy appointments and no school. It is a time of peace, our way. A time of magic and wonder, when anything is possible, and for one day, we can hold hands as a family and reach for the stars together.