It’s possible to celebrate Christmas without Christianity

By Grace Everett | Photo Editor

Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time, but not for the reasons you would think. I’m agnostic, or nonreligious. Personally, I celebrate what I like to call “secular Christmas.” I know that name is going to rub some people the wrong way, so l will elaborate.

For context, I was raised Christian — Methodist, to be exact. I went to church every week and was extremely active in my youth group. It wasn’t until the middle of high school when I started questioning my faith.

I had seen some things happen in the church that I just didn’t agree with, so I did some self-reflecting. After about a year, I decided I didn’t identify with or believe in Christianity. Looking back on my life, I realized I never really believed in any of it; I only thought I did because my parents did.

While I was doubting my faith, I wondered if I could celebrate Christmas without being Christian. I learned about secular Christmas and realized I had been celebrating it all along.

Some might disagree, but I believe Christmas is about more than the birth of Christ. I know that sounds ridiculous, because it has his name in it. I certainly acknowledge that Jesus is the reason a lot of people celebrate Christmas, but I have different reasons.

I know what you’re thinking: If I’m not Christian, why would I want to celebrate Christmas? It’s a valid question, and I have a valid answer.

Growing up, I never loved Christmas because we were celebrating the birth of Jesus. I loved Christmas because I got to spend time with family and friends. My immediate family would drive to my grandparents’ house, and my cousins would come over to hang out with my family. Writing letters to Santa Claus and asking my parents to proofread them are fond memories of mine.

When I was little, receiving gifts was my favorite part. As an adult, giving gifts is what brings me joy. Although we no longer leave cookies out for Santa, I still make Christmas cookies with my mom every year. Also, I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t use this opportunity to say Pentatonix has incredible Christmas music, which is another reason I enjoy this time of the year.

In saying all of this, I’m not trying to say people shouldn’t celebrate Jesus during the holidays. If that’s what you want to do, go ahead. What I’m trying to say is that anyone can celebrate Christmas, because it’s not just about Jesus. It’s also about spending time with family — biological or chosen — and spreading joy through gift-giving and acts of kindness. That’s what the holidays are all about.