Taking the “Christ” out of Christmas: Celebrating without religion
Driving down the road, heading home for the holidays, I would always see one large billboard that had the same slogan every December: “Remember the reason for the season.” Every year, the saying “keep Christ in Christmas” is spread around via word of mouth, social media and advertising on the road. It has even gone so far as some people on social media saying “don’t celebrate Christmas if you don’t believe in Christ.”
In 2018, LifeWay research conducted a survey in Nashville, Tennesee, to find out how many people believe Christmas should remain or become more of a religious holiday. The results found that 65% of people surveyed believe the day should remain religious. This is a decrease from the same survey administered in 2014, where the result was 79%.
It is important to note that LifeWay is a company geared toward educating people about Christianity and provides information on the religion.
Despite LifeWay’s possible intentions with the survey, it is important to note the registered decrease in people who believe Christmas should be religious. A 14% decrease over the course of four years shows to me that people are starting to understand the commercial aspects of the holiday.
Themes of togetherness, the spirit of giving, peace on earth and joy are now more commonly associated with the holiday than they were in years previous, and that is an understanding I think the world needs more of.
While I understand why people who are religious would want to keep Jesus as the central figure of the holiday, people who are not Christian can also enjoy Christmas and what it represents without the religious connotations.
I personally do not believe in Christianity. It is a religion that I just cannot connect with, and so I choose to respect it from an outside perspective. Despite this, I still celebrate Christmas with my Christian family.
While growing up, my family took me to Christmas mass every year and read from the Bible in hopes of teaching me the origin of Christ. Though I learned a few things, I still never felt drawn to the religion. What I did learn were the common themes between the religious reason for the holiday and the messages conveyed in movies and holiday specials.
Rudolph taught me acceptance, while Frosty taught me joy. All of the Christmas Eve parties in my childhood taught me to enjoy when loved ones are around, and the smiles on my mom’s face after I gave her a handmade present taught me it’s better to give than to receive.
The holiday season is about spending time with loved ones and creating precious moments no matter the holiday, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other winter holiday. Since there are so many different ways to celebrate the season, a secular Christmas should be no different, so long as it still brings the warmth and joy that it is supposed to. This holiday season, enjoy the fun, games and treats that come with all winter celebrations, religious or otherwise.
senior theater major