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Merry Christmas from Amanda Marcotte: I love Yule, but I just can’t stand that Baby Jesus

December 25, 2014

Putting the “me” back into “MErry Christmas”:

I’m an atheist, but don’t forget to buy me a present

Christmas Eve is a wonderful time for drinking eggnog and playing cards and opening just one present before bed. Having to spend that precious time kneeling and standing and sitting and singing and listening to a priest drone on about Jesus’ birth is a travesty.

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While it’s faded some as conservative Christianity becomes increasingly beholden to capitalism, there is still a lot of anxiety in Christian circles that the holiday has become commercialized and has driftedaway from its religious origins. This can make the question of how much to give at Christmas fraught: Will too many presents distract kids from Jesus? How many is too many? For atheists, it’s clear that buying a bunch of crap and laying around eating all day is the reason for the season, so these kinds of emotional crises about priorities don’t really factor. Sure, atheists may decide to put a budget on the gift-buying because showing love through material objects can spiral out of control. But if you want to give yourself a day just to be materialist and gluttonous, go for it.

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Even in Christian families that don’t pray before every meal, there’s a tendency to feel you have to revive this tradition on the holidays. Worse, the duty is often handed off to the biggest blowhard in the bunch. And so there you are, your neck getting sore as you keep it politely bowed while your relative thanks God for everyone’s promotions, marriages and babies and for the football team’s winning streak. But when atheists are in charge of the meal, you sit down and get to eating, no preliminaries necessary.

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No need to worry about working some of those dull, religious songs into the mix this Christmas.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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