Pagans, How do you cope with Christmas?

November 29, 2007 9:26am CST
Christmas is meant to be a Christian Holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But it has increasingly become an excuse to decorate your house with lights, give each other presents, and get blind drunk. Being Pagan I'm skeptical about The 24th December being the night Christ was born, but all my friends celebrate Christmas and I always buy nice food and drink (though a lot of it goes on Yule) and the television is always good with Christmas specials and so on. I have a small fiber optic tree that I get out every year I prefer to call it the Yule tree though, and I get some Ivy and holly to decorate the house with a bit. I also buy gifts for my close loved ones and got to Christmas Party's. If I had children I would probably decorate more and I wouldn't deny them celebrating Christmas just because we were Pagan. What do you do at Christmas if you are a Pagan? Obviously we celebrate the winter solstice, but do you continue celebrating through Christmas too?
7 people like this
16 responses
29 Nov 07
Like you I have many friends who celebrate Christmas. I usually have holly, mistletoe and ivy to decorate the house but I also have a small Yule tree with some lights. My partner and I always celebrate the Winter Solstice but then we also usually hold an *open house* to family and friends over the rest of the holiday for our non-pagan family.
3 people like this
29 Nov 07
yes there's no getting round Christmas it's much more a commercial thing than a religious thing now anyway, just an excuse to stay off work and get drunk lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Nov 07
Actually Christmas - the 25th is not the day Jesus was born. Far from it actually. It's just the day the Church chose to celebrate it when they were taking over pagans and converting them. It was a pagan holiday and they felt as if they might as well do it that day when the pagans would normally celebrate anyway. I can't remember which deity's birth that was celebrated - I want to say Brigid but I'm uncertain. I'm sure someone else on here knows. Yes I celebrate Christmas. For several reasons - it's fun, it brings families together, I connect with Jesus quiet closely, and I love reasons to buy gift for people LOL.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
30 Nov 07
It depends on which pagans you're talking about. The Winter Solstice is technically the longest night/shortest day of the year, and it's seen as the turning point between darkness and light because of that. If you look up pagan festivals celebrated on/around Winter Solstice, you find everything from the Norse Yule to the Roman Sol Invictus. Brigid is a Celtic Goddess, and the holiday most closely associated with her is Imbolc, which is on Feb 2.
2 people like this
30 Nov 07
Bridgid is celebrated in February.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Nov 07
Okay I couldn't remember which deity it was that was suppose to be born on Dec 25th or near it but my point was that the Christians stole the holiday to make it there own in hopes (and it did work) in converting more followers. And it wasn't the only holiday to be lifted either. Yes I realize that different pagans believe/worship different deities - but are usually grouped together as a pagans. And I do realize that Brigid is mainly a Celtic deity. However my point still would stand if it was her because the Celts were widely spread throughout Europe when the Christians started 'taking over' so to speak.
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
30 Nov 07
What is the definition of a pagan and what does being pagan mean? A pagan is someone who worships more than one god usually, right? And they use icons to represent those gods. They have rituals that they perform on their holidays such as the winter solstice, correct? They use herbs like incense and incantations and chants. Pagans can practice alone or in a group, correct? Are you starting to see a parallel? The trinity is three gods; father, son, and holy spirit. Churches are full of icons which are prayed to, touched, kissed, worn, blessed ect. Herbs such as incense are used. Water is blessed and takes on healing properties. Incantations and chants called prayers are spoken and take on power to heal and remove "sin". These things can be practiced alone or in groups. Now who did you say was Pagan? And what were you concerned about again? If you were wondering about Montheistic religions of the world today, the two that come to mind are Muslin and Hebrew. They are slightly subdivided but I believe they are the only two.
30 Nov 07
Pagans were doing all these things long before Catholics and the Christians started it. I was addressing people who aren't Christian or Catholic or Hindu or jewish, though the latter 2 religions would probably be able to answer this discussion too as they must go through the same thing at this time of the year. Perhaps I should have just called this topic "non Christians/Catholics how do you cope with Christmas? " I was specifically interested in fellow Pagans responses though.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Nov 07
It's not a matter of coping for me. I love all of the sloppy and mushy movies; I can't get enough of them. Since there are no children left in my home and I barely have the energy to clean, I won't be putting up any decorations (or maybe just my mantle). I had to give up a tree 2 years ago when my Mr.Man Cat Charlie informed me that he WAS NOT going to tolerate it standing upright; and it is way to hard to argue with him. I also love to be with friends/family and go out and look at others' decorations. Perhaps I'm a wannabe? Since no one in my family has yet "remembered" their roots and their path (although my 17 year old granddaughter is beginning to show some signs), and I choose not to push anyone into something until they are ready, I don't celebrate any of the Pagan holidays either, other than in spirit. That's pretty much the life of a solitary kitchen witch though I think. ~Donna
2 people like this
29 Nov 07
I only really celebrate Yule and Samhain, and samhain is favourite. Christmas is really about families getting together and spoiling each other and I wouldn't give it up just over my religion.
1 person likes this
@RosieS57 (889)
• United States
30 Nov 07
My hubby is of Viking ancestry so we do a quiet Yule. One of the best things about Yule is making and eating chocolate sponge cake! We put up the Pagan Bush (that's what we call it) and of course the mistletoe over the door. We also put lights up on the house and all over the palm tree in the front yard (we're in Florida) to light the darkest night. The lights are a reminder that the god will return in spring. I make either ham or turkey and pies. No one has hearths or fireplaces here, so we use a virtual Yule log: http://s167.photobucket.com/albums/u136/rosies57/?action=view¤t=e2542d75.flv Who says Pagans can't be techno-savvy? LOL I was thrilled that the person running a contest ( for points) on another site I frequent allowed me to enter using my Yule family traditions. It was heartening that Pagan ways were/are accepted; that the person is Christian but is open-minded enough to allw the Yule entry. Perhaps the fact she lives in Norway and it is her heritage, as well, had something to do with it? (wink)
2 people like this
• Canada
29 Nov 07
Well, christmas is PAGAN , so you should feel right at home celebrating with them. because that is where christmans comes from , the pagan celebration was slightly changed to fit in with the believer of christ at the time of constantine. so the history of christmas is PAGAN. So really when you celebrate that time of year you are a pagan (they just dont know about it) hahaah Not that im a pagan (im not) And i Dont celebrate christmas either .
1 person likes this
29 Nov 07
The actual Pagan celebration is on the 22nd of December, but nearly all of the traditions and decorations are from Pagan origins. Except Santa wearing Red, which came from Coca-Cola, lol.
@Galena (9123)
7 Jan 08
it's not always the 22nd. the Solstice is not fixed to a specific calender date.
1 person likes this
12 Jan 08
It depends what part of the world you are in as it is the shortest day of the year.
• United States
8 Jan 08
I do celebrate Yule, then continue to celebrate through Christmas.. most of my friends and family are not heavily reigious, so parties and such are not centered around the birth of the Christ.. rather they are gatherings of loved ones that celebrate our love for one another... our family Christmas is often then one day of the year when a can be there, as we live a bit away and many work odd hours aand most holidays.. I put up a tree, which is a symbol of everlasting life, which I know we have.. we play carols, though our favorites are the funny ones and the less religious ones... I often wish a Blessed Yule in response to the Merry Christmas greeting.. I do take a moment to wish the Christ a happy birthday on the day, and no, most scholars agree it's not 12/25, but I recognize that the Christ did live and so wish a blessing as I would to anyone on their birthday.. I follow a goddess entity who is not so petty as to see this as wrong, I can acknowledge and celebrate another diety, that does not mean that I 'worship' him/her.. I attend ony secular festivities, not the heaviy religous ones.. as the only pagan in my family I celebrate the 21st in private..
1 person likes this
10 Jan 08
I'm training as a singer and had to sing in a religious choir at Christmas. I wasn't that bothered as it's all good for my voice, and I was wearing my pentacle under my clothes as I stood in that church singing about Jesus. :)
• United States
12 Jan 08
I see nothing wrong in that, though some of the attendees might disagrree ;-) I think we may well find, once we pass from here that the gods are more tolerant of one another than their followers are.. my Goddess could care less whether I sing about Jesus, my devotion is all she requires and she is far too powerful to fear songs or words concerning other gods.. I am her child.. other gods are to me like aunts and uncles, I acknowledge them and respect them but I belong to Her.
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
8 Jan 08
I am Pagan and I have two children. We celebrate Yule/Winter Solstice. As for Christmas, the only way we really celebrate it is that 'Santa' comes to our house Christmas Eve and leaves the kids gifts for them to open on Christmas Day. It's hard because there is an emphasis on the Christian holidays at public schools and I don't want my kids feeling left out. So we celebrate the Pagan and the Christian holidays. The difference is that with the Christian holidays, it's strictly a gift receiving day and nothing more than that. So far this works for us, everybody is happy with the arrangement. I'm sure once the kids are older the Christian holidays will get phased out but I'm sure I'll never be able to phase out Christmas entirely!
1 person likes this
@Darkwing (21588)
10 Jan 08
Just as a matter of interest, Rowantree, do you exchange gifts at Yule, also? I tend to gift my pagan friends at Yule, and Christmas, the former being more relative to the pagan beliefs. I think it's wonderful that you keep the Christian festivals also, so that your kids won't be left out, and I'm sure that rather than phase them out in later life, they will carry the traditions on with their own kids. It IS very difficult to tell them that Santa won't be coming to them, when he goes to ALL the other children, and it really warmed my heart to read of what you do. Brightest Blessings.
1 person likes this
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
10 Jan 08
Hi Darkwing, The best gifts are the Yule gifts. :) We don't exchange Yule gifts outside of our family but that's when our kids get the best, most wished for gift and my husband & I exchange gifts.
1 person likes this
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
22 Dec 07
i would like to set this question right and ask all Christians, how do you justify stealing a pagan festival? Isnt there a thow shall not.... about nicking stuff off others? just a thought
1 person likes this
@Darkwing (21588)
22 Dec 07
Lolol... a great point, my friend, and don't forget all the other festivals! :) Brightest Blessings.
1 person likes this
6 Jan 08
Yes they've high-jacked many pagan festivals over time, it does seem ludicrous we have to ask a question like this, but now we are the ones who are perceived by many to be "weird" or even "satanists" for what we believe in.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
29 Nov 07
Since my household is multifaith, we just celebrate all the holidays. My husband is Christian, I am Celtic Reconstructionist Pagan, and my little boy is undecided (seeing as he's not even 2 yet). I'll gladly go to other people's parties, whatever they call them. I helped do the decorations at work. It's all garlands and lights and little village houses, nothing religious, so it didn't bother me. I do get annoyed after a while if too much of the religious Christmas music is played at work, but when I'm getting sick of it I tell the manager and he switches it out for more secular stuff. They've been really nice to me at the bank where I work actually. There are some days when we're expected to wear "Christmas sweaters" and stuff like that, but in those cases I usually opt for something with snowmen on it. :) I do buy gifts for a very short list of people. The big argument I've had was people who get upset when I say "Happy Holidays" to them, and spit "Merry Christmas" back in my face or make a scene over it. At which point I simply say that I have no way of knowing what holidays anyone celebrates since there are so many winter holidays, and that since I want everyone to have a happy holiday of their choice that is what I say. If there is further rudeness, I simply ignore the person. And if it's at work, I wave my manager over to deal with them.
1 person likes this
30 Nov 07
I'm training to be a singer and my singing school has a choir so this year I have to sing loads of Christmas songs. It doesn't bother me that much as it's more about learning to sing harmonies than religion to me, and I do acknowledge Jesus as a prophet I just think his message has been perverted to suit others needs through history.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
30 Nov 07
Hmm. See, you're nicer than I am. I would actually be upset about having to sing those songs. Granted, I'll never have to worry about that, because my singing is atrocious. :P I don't really acknowledge Jesus as anything more than a guy who said some cool stuff. He might be the son of a God, but if he is, it's a God I don't worship. Therefore he has nothing to do with me, besides having said some useful things. I wouldn't rate him any higher than some of my favorite authors who have said good things, or even a friend of mine who is very wise. *shrugs*
@kurtbiewald (2628)
• United States
29 Nov 07
serious ultra religious pagans can get the tree and get drunk only absolutely no decorating and no presents either
1 person likes this
29 Nov 07
Actually gift giving is a Pagan tradition too, and so is decorating the house and having a tree.
8 Jan 08
Gift giving at the solstice goes back to the Roman Saturnalia and the Christmas tree goes back to the Germanic worship of Odin and the universal tree Yggdrasil which has it's roots in the underworld, it's trunk in midgard (our world) and it's crown in heaven. It was the practice to sacrifice men and animals to Odin by hanging them from the sacred tree and piercing then with a spear as they hung there. This is the origin of the practice of hanging presents on the Christmas tree and the simularities between this sacrificial rite and the Crucifixion makes for interesting speculation.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Nov 07
I am certainly faced with the same feelings. It has been noted that the birth of Jesus was probably in the summer and if you really research Christmas you will see the traditions of Christmas are not Christian at all but Pagan. I just go with the flow and like you, have a small fiber optics tree that I erect basically as a night light in my dining room and to appease my family. My husband and I agreed to NOT teach our children the fables of Christmas but the truth of it's origins. We didn't teach the Santa Claus or Easter Bunny hype, and we told them that the winter solstice was adopted by Christians as a holiday to celebrate Jesus. I personally think it was an if you can't beat 'em, join 'em kind of holiday to mix it altogether and make it ok to celebrate both without feeling guilty. Ironically a co-worker years ago told my husband that we were child abusers for not teaching our children about Santa and denying them the fantasy. How crazy was that? I love how some churches have "Breakfast with Santa" makes me actually laugh..now THAT'S funny! Oh yes..they also charge for it..LOL
1 person likes this
29 Nov 07
I worked out Santa wasn't real when I was 4 I think it's cruel to mislead children in this way not vice versa. And so many of the things done at Christmas (in the UK at least I imagine it's the same in the US) come from Pagan traditions as you point out. Queen Victoria's husband Albert bought them all to us again (via Germany) after they had been repressed during the witch hunts but never explained where they came from so people just started doing it, most people still don't know they are doing Pagan things every year.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Nov 07
Yes, I also think it is cruel when a child finds out maybe from a schoolmate that Santa is not real. We as parents can teach our children about these traditions, but I do wish they would be truthful about it, because it does hurt them. Yes, I know where the traditions come from, but tell a closed minded Christian and they have some twisted "other" fact of what everything represents. Mostly taught by the churches. I know, I have tried to enlighten my mother..OMG! She just does NOT want to hear it! Of course not! That would mean someone lied to her and, well, um...lying just isn't nice, is it? And the wheel goes around and round.
1 person likes this
@eden32 (3976)
• United States
8 Jan 08
My partner & I were both raised Catholic- I am pagan, he's more agnostic in his beliefs. Since we have children and Catholic families, we celebrate put up a tree & have "Christmas" with our children. Every year as the holiday stress builds, I throw a mini temper tantrum about the hypocrisy of having Christmas stress in a non-Christian home. Christmas shouldn't be stressful for Christians either, but clearly it shouldn't be stressful for Pagans! But my children do enjoy it, and my temper tantrums I guess are part of our holiday traditions too :p
1 person likes this
10 Jan 08
yes I don't have children but I imagine it must be a tough time, I haven't heard of any Pagan who refuses to buy Christmas presents for at least young children. To me that highlights what huge commercial thing Christmas has become, even non Christians spend lots of money on gifts for a celebration they probably don't really believe in.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
7 Jan 08
like large numbers of the UK population, I celebrate Christmas as a secular festival. I celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas. being with the ones you love, and appreciating what you have together.
1 person likes this
7 Jan 08
Yes I agree it's a time for getting together with those you love to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.
@AdalieM (1135)
• United States
15 Aug 11
I don't celebrate Christmas. My family, well, the rest of the family is Catholic and I am not. I celebrate the winter solstice, but I don't go on with the celebration of Christmas. To some is the time to get drunk and give gifts, but to me is about the birth of Christ and I don't believe in him, to me he was not a god. So no point to celebrate something I don't believe in.
@DarkDancer (1012)
• Dayton, Ohio
27 May 08
Oh, very simple. I have the Holiday Season. I start it at Samhain and end at the end of Winter-een-mas. Any of the Holiday that are in there that catch my fancy to celebrate, I celebrate them, mostly with my own twist though. Yule and Christmas are actually similar enough to start that at Yule and keep on going....