Have Yourself a Merry Christmas!

By Gord Gekko
web posted December 1996

Christmas can be a rough time for the few true atheist conservatives. For years I have largely resisted sending out Christmas cards (with a few exceptions) and have asked people not to purchase me anything. My position was based on the mistaken belief that Christmas was a Christian holiday with little utility for those who did not hold with Christian beliefs. I have come now to the belief that one can properly have a secular Christmas if one looks at it in a specific philosophical setting.

Take gift giving for example. Gift giving itself can become the very manifestation of your intellect. I do not mean this literally of course. What I mean by that is that the gift itself becomes a moral action. You are parting with the efforts of your production to make a moral statement about the person you are giving the gift to. The act then becomes removed from whatever dubious religious origins it had (since Christianity does not promote the idea of gift-giving itself), and moves into the philosophical realm. Ideally, you are not simply handing out gifts to everyone, but to those people you honestly feel worthy.

The idea of a secular Christmas itself is useful. Our modern society is full of morbid philosophies that hold tenets such as the evil nature of humanity and its universe, how the world is rotten, how the intellect should be destroyed, etc. These philosophies from people like Kant, Nietzsche and Hegel hold a collectivist view of the universe, one that preys on the rational intellect.

The rational human is one that is happy and optimistic. Rejecting the doom and gloom atmosphere of today’s world, this person celebrates the very idea of humanity and its towering intellect. Christmas itself is different from many other holidays, because it promotes the very idea of good will towards your fellow human. Ayn Rand stated it best when she wrote, ‘The charming aspect of Christmas is that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says "Merry Christmas" – not "Weep and Repent"’

Modern philosophies, for the most part, express a morbid feeling about the nature of man, how we are all evil at heart, how things are unknowable, and how the world is rotten in general. Christmas is different though. The whole of the year we are subjected to how sinful we are from those philosophies and religion. It is during Christmas that we are told to be happy.,

The rational human being though has a positive view of the world all time. I do realize it is hard, considering the many trials that rational human beings are forced to go through or witness. Without an optimistic world view, we doom ourselves to the aims of those philosophies, unhappiness and hate.

Christmas can be a celebration of value; of people and the products of the human intellect. Christmas can be for everyone, regardless of its original religious connotations.

On that note, have yourself a Merry Christmas! 

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