So I know most of us around this time of year get the privilege of experiencing the wonderful "But you're an atheist (or agnostic or secular humanist or apathetic or Pastafarian, etc.), you're not supposed to celebrate Christmas because you don't believe in it" accusation. We're not all angry Christmas-haters. That's like saying all feminists are feminazis and penis-haters.
I like to relay my humble musings without getting technical about the origins of Christmas or the foundation of religion and the grounds for my lack of partaking in religious practices. This goes without saying, but I'm not speaking for all non-religious folk and everything I say is subjective. After all, this is purely opinion.
However, I'll start with a short history lesson for folks like me who are a fan of simple words. The basis of American Thanksgiving was undeniably oppression and genocide (see: eleventh grade history class). But we don't remember it that way, maybe because it's been white-washed over the years, maybe because it's no longer relevant to today's society. Some of us believe that giving thanks is more about family and friends and appreciating life than it is having an extravagant feast and watching football, drinking and causing more animosity between relatives, or maxing out your credit card the next day and trampling people for massive discounts because as a first world country we don't have enough already.
There isn't a thing we can do to change the past, so write the future a little more pleasant this time. The same thing applies to the Dark Ages and religious oppression.
Quite a bit of even my more secular friends have this idea that atheism is interchangeable with anti-theism or anarchism. Even stranger though, I've heard of friends' beliefs that most anarchists are religious or that atheism is a religion.
On the Christmas front, I'll reiterate from my previous musing of the often heard "Atheists should just keep their lack of belief to themselves." There's no such genre of atheism music, yet there's always Christian, and every other song you hear on the radio and in shopping malls around Christmastime mention "God" or "Jesus." I'm not all concerned about that and it doesn't bother me when I hear it.
So why do I celebrate Thanksgiving with my family even though it was founded by illegal immigrants who launched a brutal mass extermination of the land's natives under the basis that they were God's chosen people? Why do I celebrate Christmas even though Jesus Christ wasn't born on the 25th of December (if at all), and believe that the Bible is just stories, not a code-of-ethics handbook worth sacrificing your soul for? Because I'm not celebrating genocide when I eat turkey at the table with my mom and dad and brothers or grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins or family friends, nor am I blindly worshiping an almighty being or begging forgiveness from a deity and confessing the err of my foolish ways (sarcasm. Please. Someone understand sarcasm and not misinterpret this) by lighting a candle and singing "Silent Night" with my family at church once a year and decorating a tree with pretty lights and watching my cat knock over all the delicate tree ornaments.
On Christmas and Thanksgiving, I celebrate family and friends, nature and the universe, humanity and cats, and above all being thankful for a blessed life and an opportunity to make the world a better place in any way I can, no matter how minute or insignificant it may all seem. The only difference is that I'm not religious.
Edit (March 8): I also think it's pretty ridiculous to be politically correct or to be so offended by religion that Christmas need be called "Xmas," but whatever floats your boat. Even more so, I hate the phrase "whatever floats your boat." I'm just not very eloquent or creative to think of something better to write than a cliche.