In the United States, Christmas is two distinct holidays celebrated on the same day. One is the religious celebration of the alleged birth of Christ, with one set of iconography and ritual -- Jesus on the cross, Christmas mass and so on. The other holiday is an essentially secular celebration of life and productivity, with a different set of iconography and ritual -- the tree, the lights, the presents, Santa Claus, etc.
Objectivists do not celebrate the first Christmas. Why would we? We don't believe in the divinity of Christ and we reject the Christian belief system as false and life-harming. But the second Christmas, the secular gift-giving one, is a wholly different affair. Why wouldn't we want to celebrate that? It's a hell of a lot of fun.
And yes, I say "Merry Christmas".
answered Nov 17 '10 at 12:31
Kyle Haight ♦
Absolutely. I grew up in an Objectivist household, and we celebrate Christmas every year. It was a family tradition to cut down our own tree at a farm and decorate it—sometimes with a gold dollar sign on top. I love Christmas.
Christmas today is not essentially a religious holiday, but a secular one. Its theme is benevolence, joy, and the celebration of beauty and pleasure in material things.
Further, as Dr. Peikoff described in one of his radio shows many years ago, Christmas as we know it is a 19th-century American invention. Everything we associate with Christmas—Christmas trees, Christmas lights, presents, cards, wrapping paper, carols, Rudolph, Santa—was created or popularized in that period.
I'll let Ayn Rand herself weigh in here:
(From The Objectivist Calendar, Dec. 1976., quoted under "Christmas" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.)
answered Nov 20 '10 at 04:48
Personally speaking, for my friends and immediate family, as well as for a general trend in North America, Christmas has become a holiday of total commercialization. It is a celebration of civilization shown through the giving of gifts. If you neglect to go to church, and merely put up a tree, see your loved ones and give gifts then there is nothing religious about celebrating Christmas. Personally I see Christmas as a celebration of our capitalist society.
answered Nov 16 '10 at 16:02
Colin MacDonald ♦