You Wanna Wish Me a What?

‘Tis the season for well-wishing. Since I don’t know what particular holidays you do or don’t celebrate, I’ll err on the side of inclusiveness and say,

“Happy . .

12 Days of Christmas


All Saints Day

Armenian Apostolic Christmas


Bodhi Day

Boxing Day


Chahar Shanbeh Suri

Chinese New Year



Christmas Eve

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti


Eastern Orthodox Christmas


Epiphany Eve

Feast of Fools




Hedgehog Day


Holy Innocents’ Day



Inti Raymi



Martin Luther King Day


New Year’s Day

New Year’s Eve

Pancha Ganapati





Signature of the Constitution of the Republic of China

St. Basil’s Day

St. John the Evangelist’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day

St. Sylvester’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day


Tu Bishvat

Twelfth Night

Watch Night

Winter Solstice

I looked for a photo illustrating the ridiculous “Merry Christmas” VS “Happy Holidays” debate, but every photo I liked was encrypted. Then I found this cartoon meant to make fun of atheists. Though lacking in accuracy, it is kind of funny.




Yulefest / Midwinter Christmas


Zamenhof Day!”

 . . and let you choose which, if any, well-wishing greeting is appropriate for you. Or maybe I’ll just say “Happy Holidays.”

Note: The above list names some popular secular and non-secular celebrations, holidays, and commemorations occurring sometime in October through February around the world. It is not intended to be a comprehensive or representative list of celebrations during said time period.


I’m not religious, but I’m also not pedantic. I celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve as secular holidays. Do you celebrate holidays or commemorations which fall outside your faith or non-faith?

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  1. I’ve been an atheist all my life. I’ve never made a big deal about it, but others have.

    My parents were Catholic, but religion was never pushed in my family. I was very lucky to be raised by an open-minded mother when my parents went their separate ways when I was five. My mom talked about many faiths, and what people believed. None of it made any sense to me; I’ve been firm in my belief of nothing since the time I was young and started thinking about those kinds of things.

    We celebrated Christmas. I have Jewish cousins, so December was a time for a Christmas/Hannukah thing that was never overly religious. I always enjoyed going to my cousins’ home for Passover dinner and seeing how firm they were in their beliefs, but not-at-all even vaguely pushy about them.

    I live in Texas. Recently, a large Baptist church in Dallas has been on a crusade to call out local companies that say “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.” I see “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” Christmas lights in people’s front yards. (And still wonder if those people know that if there were a Jesus that December wasn’t when he was born, and that most of their traditions are based in pagan traditions. In Ft. Worth, atheists took out add space on city buses and people who ran Christian finally ads on buses went nuts. A few days ago, the city finally decided, “Okay, we’re stopping ALL religious and philosophical ads on buses.”

    I have Muslim friends; none of them are terrorists. I have gay friends; none of them are deviants hellbent on the destruction of traditional marriage. I have pagan friends; none of them sacrifice things or are out to destroy Christianity. I have atheist friends and Christian friends; all believe in science and get along with each other very well without any judgment.

    I like the Bizarro cartoon in this post, but then…I’ve loved Bizarro for years. I can look at things I hold as close to sacred as I come (atheism, not eating animals, and just being decent to people–even if they aren’t decent to me), and laugh about it.

    By not taking everything so personally, I’m able to enjoy life more because I realize the only people out to get anybody are small clusters of crazy people whose behavior is anything but indicative of the group they claim to be.

    So I celebrate holidays. My wife was born on Halloween, so one of my favorite holidays is even cooler. I realize that the evening for my pagan friends means more to those dressing up and just having a good time, and I’m glad people of all sorts enjoy the day.

    Christmas has always been about family to me. My wife and I visit my mom on Christmas Eve for a nice, quiet evening–and Christmas Day is a day my wife and I enjoy to ourselves. New Years Eve is also a night when my wife and I hang out, celebrating the year that passed, and talking about what we hope for the year ahead.

    Hell, birthdays are big celebrations to me. I don’t work on my birthday or my wife’s birthday–we usually go to a museum, out to eat, or do something cool to celebrate the days.

    I love holidays and rituals. While I don’t believe in any kind of god, I can see why religious holidays are so important to people, and I’ve taken part in religious celebrations with friends who aren’t pushy about it, or even hoping that it rubs off on me.

    One of the things I think about during any holiday is how lucky I am to know so many people from so many backgrounds who can all get together and not fight about our differences, but instead–see what makes us similar.

    I don’t pray, but if I were so inclined, I think my recurring prayer would be that everybody could be like that, instead of seeing differences as things to fear and even crush.

    • I’m a life-long atheist too. My dad was/is a Buddhist, (a monk at one point) and my mom is officially “other.” Growing up, my family celebrated Christmas and Easter, but never made any mention of Jesus or the Bible. As a teen, I attended a Unitarian Universalist Sunday school. I went to Church of God College (AKA Anderson University). In college I joined the Bible study group, and after college I worked as a child-care provider for a Presbyterian church. The whole time I felt like an outsider who didn’t know the secret password to the Jesus Club. I didn’t tell anybody I was an atheist.

      The concept of “god” has never made sense to me. Sometimes I feel like my brain is missing whatever it is that makes people believe in deities. Other times I feel like it’s the believers who are missing something. Whatever the case, I see no reason why non-believers and believers can’t co-exist peacefully. But then I think of Westboro Baptist Church.

      It’s depressing to see the anti-evolution / anti-science billboards which have popped up recently. It seems like the science literacy pendulum may be starting to swing toward ignorance again. Maybe it’s a part of the human condition, and it’s inevitable.

      Funny, my mother-in-law’s B-Day is on Halloween. Every year I carve a Jack-o-lantern for her. I love Halloween because everybody gets to dress up however they wish and not be judged for it (at least the adults aren’t judged). I also love the 4th of July for the sights, sounds, and smells, and Thanksgiving for the sentiment.

      I like your non-prayer prayer. Thanks for a great commentary. RAmen!

  2. hell yeah, I’ll happily celebrate anything that gets me a day off work…….


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