A tradition with over 1,700 years worth of human history behind it, is rare. I can't think of any other holiday celebrated in the western world that compares, unless it is Easter. Easter however has never achieved the commercial and social standing of Christmas. The importance of the two events and the comparative religious impact isn't the point. The point is that as a holiday celebrated by both non-Christians alike Christmas is king of the Holidays. In America we don't have a bigger holiday than Christmas, we never have.
My guess is that most Americans celebrate Christmas as a non or nearly non-religious holiday. I suspect that this is true for many Christians as well. As a Christian I have never celebrated Christmas in a religious way. I never attended a Christmas service, unless Christmas happened to be on a Sunday, until I got married. My wife's family are C&E Lutherans, so I went.
In any event, Christmas, the Christmas Story and sporadic church attendance are dwarfed by Santa Claus and retail trade considerations. If we are strictly analytical about it, Christmas is a largely made up holiday with its roots in Christian church traditions. That is how we as a society see it, accept it, and practice it.
Look Closely at the Sign Outside of This Firehouse. Atheists Are Calling It ‘Exclusionary and Alienating’ — and Demanding Its Removal
A Christmas-themed sign outside of a firehouse in Utica, New York, is drawing the ire of atheists, who argue that its message poses a constitutional violation.
“About 20% of Utica citizens are nonreligious and others follow non-Christian faiths — and that includes Utica firefighters. The Utica Fire Department should not send them this exclusionary and alienating message,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said in a statement. ”How would Brooks feel if his local government put up a sign saying, ‘Happy Birthday, Mohammed. We love you!’? This sign is equally inappropriate because government bodies should not take sides on religion.”How would Brooks feel if his local government put up a sign saying, ‘Happy Birthday, Mohammed. We love you!’?
That's a fair question. Of course it wouldn't matter one little bit. In countries where the government puts up signs endorsing Islam, your feelings about it don't matter. If you throw a tantrum about Islam being "Exclusionary and Alienating", they chop your head off.
Most Americans don't strike me as fundamentally religious. That includes the ones who profess a religious preference. If I was an atheist, I think I would pick Christianity as the religion I would want my society to be most influenced by. Christians believe that to become a Christian you have to profess a faith in Jesus and that no one can make you "Christian" except, you.
That means that they might try to have a bible study with you. They might even knock on your door and invite you to church. They might (gasp) pray for you, or worse yet put up a sign saying "Happy Birthday Jesus" around the end of December.
In a war of religions, the smart atheist, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, etc should really consider backing the Christians over the Muslims. Christians tend to do weird stuff like pot lucks and charity bazaars. We don't make you go to our church, pray five times a day, or rape your wife and daughters for not believing.
What would you rather do, open lots of presents, eat a big meal, have some pie, (or not its not like Christians have people who come around and make sure your tree is up the day after thanksgiving) or live under a repressive regime where you are obligated to kill everyone who doesn't agree with you?