One question I never seem to hear from anyone this time of year is should we, in the U.S., actually have designated a holiday for Christmas? Think about it, it’s a sectarian celebration, and with the federal government designating December 25th as a national holiday, are they not in fact in violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment?
No other major (or minor) religion has any day or days designated as national holidays and even to Christians up until the holiday was esablished in 1870 viewed the celebration as being un-Christian. The church didn’t even officially recognize December 25th until sometime in the mid fourth century, and there’s dispute among scholars as to why that specific date was chosen.
Although it may seem unfair to other religious beliefs that Congress would pass a bill recognizing Christmas as a holiday, it wasn’’t done in any way that would recognize the actual religious belief. The bill covered both December 25th and January 1st and the language used in the bill only referred to each date as being commonly known as Christmas and New Years Day and did not endorse any religious celebration. As far as I have been able to ascertain, there has never been a constitutional challenge for December 25th as being designated Christmas, even though the origin was explicitly religious in nature.
So, it’s not unconstitutional on its face because there is nothing that specifies any sectarian worship on the particular day and nothing in the law that was passed says anything about it being about any particular religious tradition. People celebrate the day the way they want: some do in fact go to church while for others it’s a day of family, food, and gifts to one another.
There may be some that don’t like the idea that the government recognizes this day at all, but as long as the same does not officially endorse it religiously, there’s nothing wrong with having a holiday known as Christmas.