A blast from the past, a golden oldie... And coincidentally, the lead article right now from Jeff Landauer is about a debate between secularists and religionists. Objectivists find many reassons to celebrate the usual holidays though for unusual reasons. See the Ayn Rand Lexicon online for Christmas http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/christmas.html and Thanksgiving http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/thanksgiving.html. I have been celebrating Newtonmas off and on since the 1980s.
One time, I was on a federal project. One of my team mates was a deacon in his church. On the way to lunch, I asked him (rhetorically) whether he thought that it was a contravention of the separation of church and state to be given Christmas off as a paid holiday. He replied, "Michael, do you really think that Christmas is a religious holiday?"
Despite the apparently long tradition, in fact, Christmas is a modern invention. The Plymouth Rock pilgrims did not celebrate it. That was why Ebenezzar Scrooge was not celebrating Christmas: he was old fashioned, a hard working Calvinist, a low church Protestant. Bob Cratchit was Charles Dickens' hero as the new man, the modern man of his time: A Christmas Carol and the first Christmas cards both date from 1843. We're talking capitalism here!
You all must know The Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd about Ralphie and the BB gun. The scene at the department store with the kids outside looking in at all the toys expressed the joy in abundance (ok, greed) that centers on Christmas in the most meaningful way. We show our love for our families and friends by giving them things. Gift-giving and ritual gift exchange is the root of trade. It is not economic calculation in barter, my chicken for your potatoes. People resort to barter only when money fails. More on that another time. That is why both sides of the transaction say "Thank you."