christmas gifts. Should an Atheist exchange gifts on this christian holiday?

I am curious how many people here participate in buying and receiving presents at christmas time? Personally I give my wife and son christmas gifts. Am I selling out to a christian tradition? I feel im bowing down to societal pressure. Is there any way around this?

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The Nerd is so smart! I agree with you Nerd. You make very good points.  : )
Me too...too bad "The Nerd Herd" is already taken as a group name.  How about "The Nerd Mentality Group"?

I'll join.


I enjoy xmas and I make no apology for it.  I love popular culture, and xmas is a garish, ridiculous festival of such.  I love it.

It would be better to celebrate National Atheist Day but my son would feel bad when all his buddies got all their stuff at christmas and he didnt.

In the first millennium CE it was the wish of the Church to crush the people's love for their traditional festival that had endured for several millennia, namely a celebration of the turning point of the year following the shortest day/longest night, 21 December. 

No one in the Papacy knew the date of Jesus's birthday so the fraud was initiated of celebrating it on 25 December to serve as replacement appeasement.

Therefore, by all means continue with your gift-giving, but with the thought that you are taking part in a truly ancient much-loved festival that predates all the nativity fictions. 

a truly ancient much-loved festival that predates all the nativity fictions.

That's my thoughts on it, too.  I downplay the religious aspects and focus on the family traditions...wrapping presents, baking, decorating the tree, putting up lights outside, etc. 

It is hard not to get sucked into the materialism part of gift-giving so I try to stay on a budget.  And I shop early...I'm not one of those last-minute shoppers.  I worked at the mall as a seasonal worker 2 years ago and worked right up to Christmas and it was amusing to see all the 'desperate' shoppers with wild looks in their eyes...I worked at Waldenbooks and their calendar kiosk. It was an educational experience, that's for sure.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Christians are naive to think this is their season or that jebus is the reason for the season. Humans have been celebrating the shortest day of the year, winter solstice, for a very long time. Before our modern amenities, humankind used that time to drink, tell stories, and be merry. I don't celebrate christmas, but I think all people, religious and non-religious can celebrate on the same day! And unfortunately for me, I have to celebrate on the 25th (rather than the real solstice on the 21st), because Santa only comes on Xmas eve..

In fact, New Year's Day used to be the solstice day, the 21st. 

The Papacy shifted it to the 25th, and calendrical alterations took it to 1st January. 

21st December was Day 1 on the most ancient calendars. 

21st June was Day 183

20th December was Day 365. 

Its as much a secular holiday as a religious one. If you want to buy gifts you should but don't feel guilty about it.

Exactly, gift-giving pre-dates Jesus!   It pre-dates formal religious ceremonies, as well.  Does anyone with a background in evolutionary development studies know if modern primate groups exchange tokens of appreciation?  I think there is evidence of prehistoric human societies leaving tokens in grave sites/burial mounds...but that has a different meaning, I suppose, than exchanging gifts with the living! 


And a gift is different than a 'trade'....isn't it?  Maybe this discussion belongs in micro economic studies...ha.  At what point does gift receiver A feel guilty about not reciprocating with gift giver B at an equal, if not greater, level of expense?

Heck, just because you're an atheist, doesn't mean you have to give up everything fun.  I love christmas.  I have an entire room filled with christmas decorations.  No navity scene, of course, but I have a large animated  Santa collection.  If we have to give up christmas, then xtians have to give up Santa.  He has nothing to do with them or their religion.  I don't see that happening.
Christmas doesn't have to be about Jesus! It's about fun and family and food and gifts and lights and watching Rudolph on TV! :D




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