Apologies to my friend Tom Flynn, the Anti-Claus, but my family and I are a worse threat to Kirk Cameron’s and Bill O’Reilly’s overblown fears of Christmas Future than Tom is. My wife and I are second generation atheists who grew up never having had any religious or supernatural beliefs, never attending church or having been indoctrinated, having nothing to reject or rebel against, and we both also grew up with Christmas as a standard part of our seasonal celebrations. Our child is now four and she has never been to church, never even asked about a god, and knows that Santa Claus is just a story and that her parents bring her gifts at Christmas. This is the future of Christmas.
There is of course no “war on Christmas” despite the ratings that particular meme earns Fox News each year, nor if there were would I join the anti-Christmas forces on the battlefield. Nor do I need to justify embracing the holiday with appeals to history, to its relation to a plethora of solstice-time celebrations in various religious traditions, nor do I need to apologize to other atheists for celebrating a Christian holiday. I don’t do so. Nothing about the holiday for me and my family relates in any way to Jesus. We just enjoy decorating the tree, stringing up lights, even singing Christmas carols, and of course, exchanging presents on Christmas day. Like nearly ¾ of non-religious Americans, we’ll be having Christmas without so much (well, without any) Christ in it.
Even here in Mexico, where about 90 percent of the population is Catholic, growing secularism means lower church attendance, and at least among the generation of families our age, creeping doubt and outright rejection of religious spirituality. As with the experience of other developing countries, where material well-being rises, superstition seems to wane. Christmases here will likewise continue, replacing midnight masses with parties and “posadas” absent their religious trappings. Piñatas without prayer are the future of Christmases here for a growing number of us. I’m looking forward to the traditional Bacalao dinner and family time with food and libations. This is why I and my whole family are Kirk Cameron’s worst nightmare, because for us, there never was any Christ in Christmas, just a seasonally welcome time of family and togetherness, and secular, non-spiritual, non-superstitious love and celebration are the worst enemies of organized religion. Now, I must go finish wrapping presents. If you celebrate, enjoy. If not, I’ll see you in the New Year.