I get a lot of questions during the holidays from people unsure of what we, as atheists, celebrate. How do we want to be greeted? Do we send cards? Do we have trees? So, I thought I would do this little atheist holiday FAQ.
Do you celebrate Christmas? We do. I was raised celebrating Christmas in the Santa way, not in the Christ is the Reason way. It is a totally commercial holiday for us, but we enjoy the moment to be with family, share traditions, and give easily to others.
Do you celebrate any other winter holidays? Being raised UU we do. We celebrate Hanukkah to some extent, at least we put up our little menorah and we celebrate solstice, the first day of winter. We don't do Advent, the elf thing (we just didn't grow up with that), go to church on Christmas eve, Kwanzaa, or any of the other holidays.
Do you have a tree? We do, always have. It is just a sparkly wonder that celebrates the memories of family through the ornaments and tradition of putting it up.
Do you have stockings and presents? Yep, big on both.
Do you send cards? Sometimes, when I am not uber lazy.
Do you like to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or something else? Any of it is fine. Our daughter is adamant about having people say Happy Holidays because it is more inclusive and suggests that you are at least aware enough to know that not everyone is a Christian. I really don't care. If you are more comfortable saying Merry Christmas, I won't be offended.
Do you have any religious traditions associated with Christmas? Well, because we feel that most of what Christians believe to be their traditions are actually pagan celebrations we don't attribute any of them to a holy moment. Years ago, when I was about 9, my dad took me to the planetarium and they showed the "star" that Jesus was supposedly born under and said that there was no way it was in December. Most likely April. That was a revelation to me at the time and made me realize later that the traditions are just that, traditions. If others put religious significance towards them that is their right, but I personally do not.
Granted, every atheist is different and I don't purpose to talk for everyone, but I hope this helped just a little. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Blessed Solstice - Enjoy your winter holidays with all of those around you.