Let’s Make Christmas Christlike

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 21, 2009 in Ethics,Inspirational,Video

Late in my teens, I told my extended family I did not want any gifts and would not be giving any. Instead, I would give some money to help the poor. (For example, one Christmas I helped buy a goat for a needy family.)

The video above outlines my motivations for doing so. It also reminded me of what got me so excited about living like Jesus in the first place.

Later, I found out that God does not exist and that we have almost no idea what Jesus was really like. But I can still use one particular ideal image of Jesus – whether or not it is true of the historical figure – to represent a good cause: that of giving of oneself to make the world a better place.

Whether or not you are religious, I urge you to make the decision now to skip the High Holy Day of Consumerism and use Christmas to come together and make the world a better place. (I recommend giving to a charity whose finances have been independently reviewed.) Tell your friends and family now, before they buy you anything, that you’d like to have a Christmas that benefits the world, not one that benefits corporations.

It’s not that difficult or awkward to change the way you do Christmas. So far as I know, not a single other person in my extended family has changed the way they do Christmas. But it’s okay. They respect my decision, and I don’t chide them for celebrating in the traditional way.

Please join us in making Christmas more Christlike.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

BJ Marshall October 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm


This is the first Christmas I will be celebrating as an out-of-the-closet atheist. How ironic that I can make this my most Christ-like Christmas ever while being the least Christian I have ever been!


lukeprog October 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm

BJ Marshall,

I love it.


Jake de Backer October 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Great. Another attack on the pagan originated, Christianity adopted holiday. No presents? Nice. Let me guess, the next post will be about how we should stop burying eggs and eating chocolate bunnies to commemorate an illiterate carpenter’s new found zombie status. It’s never enough with you atheist’s.



fallen October 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Disappointed: Seriously?

Damn atheists. Trying to rethink our nonreligious holiday spending habits in favor of a more selfless, Christlike willingness to give to the poor at the time Christians celebrate Christ’s birth. Bah!

(Yeah, yeah, they don’t think that Jesus rose again, but will they eat the chocolate bunnies?!)


matt h October 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm

good one, will spread it around


Lee A. P. October 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I love Christmas. I love the Christian aspects. I love the songs about Jesus. I love the pagan aspects. I love Christmas trees, noel, mistletoe and towns and cities that deck their streets in green.

I guess it was about presents when I was a kid. But for me, starting at about age 14 or 15 it became about family and a parcular sort of spirit that seems to really be present at that time of year. That and getting tanked with my aunts and uncles and cousins! This infidel is wild about Christmas.

As far as the video goes, without the stimulation of the economy that happens during Christmas, I suppose an argument can be made that the economy could go even more in the tank and it cause cause even more poor people. but whatever. I accept the general point that we should think of, and give more to those less fortunate.


Jake de Backer October 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm


Jake make joke. Jake atheist. Jake love Christmas. Jake not love Christ.

Sorry for confusion,


Haukur October 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Yes, like Jesus said: “For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” No, wait, Jesus is the guy who said the poor can wait – he likes having expensive nard poured over his head just fine. Mmm, pure nard…


Jeff H October 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Great stuff. I’ve been contemplating bringing up the idea with my family of just buying ONE present for each other, and donating the rest to some charity. We might not do it this year, for various reasons, but at any rate, I think it’s a good compromise. Getting one present for each other still makes it “feel like Christmas”, but the majority of the money is still being spent where it will be useful.

And besides…my parents are impossible to buy for anyway…


lukeprog October 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Nice, Jeff. One step at a time…


fallen October 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm


No shit. Apparently I can’t tell when someone is joking. Thanks for spelling it out for me. I blame lack of sleep. And growing up fundamentalist.

I’ve heard many Christians say things like that (you know, contradictory and ignorant). And I think and hope that they’re joking, because they make no sense, and no, no they are not. In fact, I wish more of them were joking. A lot more often. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to respond with sarcasm. Apologies.


JakeVortex October 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm

My wife and I gave up the gift exchange about ten years ago and have never looked back. The first year is the hardest. My advice is to go cold turkey, be firm but gentle and make no exceptions. Now if we see something that we think a friend or family member might like we’ll get it for them for their birthday, or for no reason at all.

The best part is when people whine about xmas shopping, we just say “we’re already done, we don’t do any.”


Steven Carr October 21, 2009 at 10:53 pm

The story of Christmas teaches us the valuable lesson that if children are being threatened, you save your own child and let the others take their chances.

And say thank you if people come a long way and give you some gold. Graetfully accept and don’t point out how much good that gold would have done if donated to charity.


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