Here we are in holiday time again. As an atheist, I often get asked why I celebrate Christmas. Well, I don't celebrate Christmas. But I do have a tree, give gifts, decorate my house, and have people over for a nice holiday dinner. None of these things are religious.
In our culture, it is impossible to escape the holiday season. Atheists can certainly enjoy the atmosphere of love and closeness to family and friends, the gentle kindnesses that are abundant this time of year, and the gathering of said family and friends around a festive tree, logs ablaze in the fireplace, and abundant food for all. This is not exclusive to religion.
I have not celebrated "Christmas" for many years. I do not recognize God or Jesus as anything but mythical beliefs. I did not arrive at this conclusion lightly. After many years of searching for truth, I slowly came to the realization that nothing supernatural in the religious realm makes any logical sense. As a rational thinker, I cannot pretend to believe what I consider magical thinking, the self-fooling that religious people undertake. I traveled many roads to come to my own conclusion that there is simply no reason, no logical, rational reason, to believe in any supernatural power that has no proof of its existence.
I still enjoy my decorated tree, my festive home, and look forward to enjoying the company of family and friends on Thursday. I will be celebrating love and warmth, peace and kindness, and the Winter Solstice, which recognizes the sun's lowest point in the sky for the year. The solstice portends the depths of winter to come: cold, darkness and dreary weather, nature closing up shop for the season. This is one of the most important seasons for nature, for it gives all living things time to slow down, reflect, come indoors, sleep more, eat hearty and heavy foods, and rest up for the rebirth to come on March 22, the Spring Equinox.
Yes, atheists can enjoy this holiday season as much as any religious people do. After all, Winter Solstice was the non-religious celebration that was usurped by the early Christians to tempt people to their new religion.