Can an Agnostic celebrate Christmas?
As I write this, October is drawing to a close and many people are starting their annual Christmas preparations. And some of them will start polishing off their annual Letter to the Editor of their local newspaper lamenting the over-commercialization of the event and demanding that we "Put the Christ back in Christmas."
And what should the dedicated Agnostic do?
What we should remember is that Christmas was traditionally a very minor event on the Christian calendar. Throughout most of its existence, the Christian Church actively discouraged the celebration of Christmas so as not to take away from the far more important Christian celebrations such as Easter. In addition, because Christmas fell so close to the winter solstice, celebration was discouraged so as to avoid the pagan practice of enjoying yourself in recognition that days had begun to lengthen. It was only in the 19th Century when increasing commercialization made it apparent than these celebrations could never be successfully suppressed that the various Christian Churches began to accept the 25th of December as a major event.
Consequently, the appropriate action for Agnostics at Christmas is to act just as humans have for thousands of years - we should eat, drink, and be merry. Put up a tree, decorate your house, and exchange gifts. Let Santa visit your kids. And ask your Christian friends to get the Christ back out of Christmas.
Most of all, have a happy Yuletide.