However, there is a nugget of truth to the idea that everyone sees Christmas as, at its core, all about Jesus. Bart Simpson famously said that Christmas is the day when people of all religions come together and worship Jesus Christ. That said, I’m a believer in the idea that whether you do something or avoid something based on others’ actions, you’re letting someone else live your life. Even if others believe it’s Christian period, I don’t.
Some have also suggested to me that they dislike the commercial aspect to it. Recently a friend sniffed at me that he loves his family every day, why buy into the Hallmark and Wal-Mart empire for no good reason? Simply put, the giving and getting is fantastic no matter who you are. I spent easily $500 on friends and family this year and the looks on their faces when opening a gift always puts me in a good mood. Plus, hey, everyone likes free stuff.
Not only that, but no matter how much one might protest, no one lives every day with "I love my family so much" in mind. We don’t have big family dinners every day and we certainly don’t spend that much quality time with them. This is especially true if your family is separated by a lot of geography. Christmas gives me a great opportunity to show everyone what they mean to me.
(Forgive the sappiness on that last part. I’m an old softy at times, I know.)
One problem with working too much is that you rarely have time to hang out with your family. I came by my dad's house on the evening of the 24th to drop off presents, and found that the whole family was gone to mass and wouldn't be back until late. The actual thought that ran through my head was: "Damn you, religion, you're taking my family away from me." It was an amusing irony. Here I was, wanting to have dinner with my dad, stop-mom, and all my far-flung brothers and sisters... and I couldn't do it because of the very holiday that I wanted to celebrate with them. ;]
So mark me down as one of the agnostics who loves the quality time with family and gift giving aspects of Christmas, but who still couldn't care less about Jesus. Celebrating Christmas can't make me Christian, any more than sleeping in the garage can make me a car.