I have never considered Christmas to be a religious holiday. That might sound a strange thing to say, but growing up in a multi-racial part of London, where only about half the population were even nominally Christian, Christmas was just an excuse for time off school, for relatives to visit, and for parties.

Despite the fact that in the UK church and state are linked (the Queen is not just Head of State, she is also "Defender of the Faith") Britain is actually a far less religious country than the USA. I grew up seeing no contradiction in having a Chanukah menorah burning next to a christmas tree, as to me the tree wasn't a Christian symbol but a Christmas one: and as Christmas represented a non-religious holiday to me everything resolved out just fine in my youthful head. Actually, having been brought up a Jewish atheist the Jewish icons were no more symbolic either, but that's an aside.

What this all means is that when I say "I hate it when they try to bring religion into Christmas" most people think I'm joking. I'm not. The links between Christianity and a winter solstice "festival of the lights" are extremely tenuous anyway: if Christmas isn't about eating too much, drinking too much and generally having a good time, then it shouldn't be about anything.