Contrary to what your hear on Fox or on right wing hate talk radio, not all atheists hate Christmas. In fact, this atheist loves Christmas. Both Sparky and I do. What we hate is intolerant small minded Christians who insist on trying to ruin the holiday with their insistent cries that every one must tow their line or else. They seem to think they are making Jesus happy that by forcing everyone to bray, "Merry Christmas!," even if you're an atheist, a Jew, or a whatever.
You see, to me Christmas is not about the birth of the son o' God. It's about spending time with loved ones and friends. And the gifts I give to them don't symbolize the gift of the birth of mankind's savior, they are heartfelt offerings made out of love to remind that person of how much they mean to me.
I send Christmas cards, carefully chosen so as not to say 'Merry Christmas' or include any religious bull shit, to people near and far because I want them to know I am thinking of them at this time of year. I like to get together with friends this time of year not because someone decided years ago to co-opt a pagan celebration (it's no accident that Christmas falls only days after the winter solstice), but because another year has passed and I like to be with them once more to let them know how much I enjoy them and their company.
We put up Christmas trees not because they symbolize everlasting life, but because they are bright and cheery in an otherwise drab time of year.
But you know what? If you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday then good for you. More power to you. I'm not about to try to stop you. You celebrate however you like. And I want you to let me do the same.
So stop telling me I have to say 'Merry Christmas' and not 'Happy holidays!' because you think I'm disrespecting your religion. Stop telling me Jesus is the reason for the season, he's not really. The reason for the season is that humans in the northern hemisphere have always celebrated the fact that the days start to get longer after the winter solstice and once they made their way to the southern hemisphere they took that celebration down there as well.
To me this holiday season is all about home, family (the ones I like that is), and friends. It's about giving and doing for those that are close to you. It's about trying to be a nicer person and starting the new year out right.
I'm an atheist and I celebrate Christmas the way I like, the way that works best for me. If only some of the people who call themselves Christian would do the same and stop trying to make others do as they do, then that would be a Christmas miracle we could all believe in.