Can atheists celebrate Christmas?

Atheists can celebrate Christmas. To them, it is more of a tradition, and atheists do value traditions. Most people do not need religion, a god, or jesus to value the gift of giving and to value spending time with family.

Furthermore, "There were festivals and celebrations at the time of the winter solstice long before there was a Christian church, for a couple of centuries at least before Jesus may have

Answer2: Christmas supposedly commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, and nearly every religion that claims to be Christian celebrates it. Yet, there is no evidence that the first-century disciples of Jesus observed such a holiday. The book Sacred Origins of Profound Things states: "For two centuries after Christ's birth, no one knew, and few people cared, exactly when he was born." So then if one is not a believer in God or Christ why celebrate Christmas. For this matter ones can give gifts all year long and draw close to family without it being on Christmas.

Atheists can and do celebrate at Christmastime but they are not necessarily celebrating Christmas.


Early Christian church leaders set Christian holy days over days that had been celebrated by pagans long before the advent of Christianity. Christmas was laid over the time of the pagan celebration of the Solstice which was celebrated for thousands of years before the birth of Christ. The ancient pagans were celebrating the return of the light following the longest and darkest night of the year.

Many of the traditions associated with Christmas were adapted from pagan traditions. In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated their own winter solstice tradition known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the birth of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year. The word Yule itself means "wheel," the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. The modern traditions of the most important Christian holiday- Christmas- are rooted in these ancient pagan traditions.

  • Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun.
  • Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual.
  • Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.
  • The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again.
  • Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility.
  • The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.
  • Feasting and gift giving were always part of this time of celebration.


Although the early Catholic Church managed to give the year end celebrations a new name they did not manage to wipe out the festivities of those who are not celebrating the birth of the Christian god, Jesus. Those celebrations have been going on for thousands of years and modern retailing has categorized it all under the banner of Christmas.