What is Christmas?

I was raised Catholic. I attended Catholic school through college. Our Christmas traditions included attending church on Christmas Eve and a party afterwards. Gifts were received from aunts, uncles, parents and Santa Claus. That was that.

When I stopped believing and it came time to celebrate winter holidays, I had to rethink everything I thought I knew. What would these celebrations be for me, what would they be for my family?

I wanted to understand what the origins of winter holidays were, how did Santa, gifts, Jesus’ birth and Christmas trees all come to be? I had heard that many Christmas traditions were rooted in pagan rituals and celebrations. But which ones? And how? I also wanted to try to avoid the myopic worldview of my own childhood. To learn and share other celebrations our friends and neighbors might have, celebrations that we could understand and appreciate.

Since many parents are dealing with a similar situation, I wanted to share what I learned and how we created our family celebrations. In the next several blog posts, I will share what I learned as well as how our family chooses to celebrate. 

First, why December 25?

 

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