Easter. I often get asked why I celebrate Easter when I am not a Christian. My answer is this, I don’t celebrate Easter. Sure I dye and hide eggs; sure I give the kids baskets with bunnies in them. I am celebrating Spring. For thousands of years Rabbits have been symbols of reproduction and eggs symbols of fertility. The more appropriate question would be to ask a Christian why they celebrate the resurrection of Christ with bunnies and eggs.
Thanksgiving. Here again for thousands of years people celebrated the Fall Harvest with a feast to share and be thankful for a bountiful harvest. It also was a celebration of gathering with friends before the winter came and people were often secluded due to snow and harsh traveling conditions.
Christmas. Same question asked of this. Again, I am not celebrating the birth of Christ. I am Celebrating Winter Solstice. The evergreen tree, has for thousands of years, been a symbol that there is still life in the dead of winter and that not everything has perished. Families at this time of year would attempt to be together and exchange gifts they had made while confined to the inside to break the monotony of being secluded. This break in the long winter helped people get through those long months.
Why the confusion? When the Christians were crusading and killing or converting pagans they understood that their and their celebrations were so intertwined with their culture that they kept them even after converting. Realizing that letting them keep these traditions made conversion easier and over time they merged the celebrations together and they are still like that today.