In this era of political correctness, many find it safest to say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas”. But most of the components of the holiday are rooted in pagan rituals, and Christmas has become so commercialized that most of the traditions have little to do with the birth of Jesus. Even Richard Dawkins has a Chrismas tree and asserts that the holiday has become so divorced from religion that he says “Merry Christmas” without hesitation.
There’s much discussion about what, if any, holiday non-theists should celebrate. And Christians are sometimes offended when non-theists celebrate Christmas, despite Christianity’s late appropriation of the winter solstice festivities. However, in light of the source of the December celebration, the proliferation of Santa Claus tales, and the focus on food, presents, and merriment (as opposed to the birth of Christ), it may actually be the most appropriate holiday for non-theists to observe.
Is Christmas still a religious holiday? Or does its origin and recent commercialization render the religious component “optional”?