Christmas is not a religious holiday, nor has it ever been.
This is not simply because it has become completely secularized to the point where a lot of people don’t understand that “Saint Nicholas” and “Santa Claus” were originally supposed to be the same person.
This is not simply because my Hindu co-workers have no problem celebrating Christmas as a holiday as opposed to a Holy Day.
This is not simply because Jesus celebrated Hanukkah (though it wasn’t called that at the time and the way it was celebrated was probably very different) and didn’t celebrate Christmas. (Though he might have had one or more birthday parties. That part is less clear.)
Christmas is originally a simple cultural tradition that was meant to celebrate a religious event. As extra day off to party, but not anything commanded by the Bible. (One of the Popes may have instituted it as a Roman Catholic religious holiday, and then in that case it is for Catholics and possibly Anglicans and Episcopals, but I don’t know about that.)
On the other hand, Easter is definitely a religious holiday because it’s always celebrated on a Sunday. Every Sunday is a Holy Day. The Lord’s Day. The Bible is pretty explicit about this. I take every Sunday off of work to keep The Lord’s Day Holy.
(Incidentally, I obviously don’t consider my weblog to be work or else I wouldn’t have posted on Sundays. This is something I do to relax.)
This year, Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday, which means I don’t get any extra days off. Additionally, we had a Christmas Eve Carol service on the 23rd and opened presents on the 24th. Today is Christmas, but we’re having a normal Church service because the Lord’s Day is The Lord’s Day, not Saint Nicolas Day.
But Christmas by itself is ultimately just a cultural tradition (with the possible exception of Roman Catholics), especially in the United States of America. So any atheists who claim that it’s a religious holiday that somehow excludes non-Christians are just plain ignorant. See above regarding Hindus celebrating Christmas. So fighting about it is just plain ignorant. Claiming that Christmas was originally based on pagan winter solstice festivals is especially ignorant.
(Incidentally, Kwanzaa is silly, but harmless.)
Although our Christmas was yesterday, I do recognise that most people’s Christmas is today because of tradition. There’s nothing wrong with this, just a very slight cultural difference of opinion and nothing to get excited about. And thus I say:
Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!