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By David Kyle Johnson

Dr. David Kyle Johnson

The Myths that Stole Christmas:

Seven Misconceptions that Hijacked the Holiday (and How We Can Take It Back)

We all secretly know that Christmas isn't wholly good cheer, but David Kyle Johnson is brave enough to say it. The Myths that Stole Christmas debunks the biggest misconceptions about America's most popular holiday and dares readers to take it back and make the season their own!


In a tone that is both analytical and conversational, Johnson's The Myths that Stole Christmas critiques the frivolous consumerism, religious extremism and the “Santa Claus lie” that characterize Christmas today. But far from being a holiday Grinch, Johnson also presents his readers with a way to reclaim Christmas so that it can again be a time of joy and community, not an expensive and divisive obligation.


Johnson begins his book with a bold assertion: Many of us just don’t like Christmas. Or, we like it, but we wish it weren’t such a burdensome obligation. The Myths That Stole Christmas unpacks the cultural baggage that Christmas has accumulated, from the $12 billion of “deadweight loss” gifts purchased that recipients do not even want to the way in which the Religious Right has hijacked the season to erode the wall of separation between church and state.


Along the way, Johnson’s meticulous research enlightens his readers about the history of Christmas and Santa Claus and their pagan roots, and explains how the Christmas traditions we take for granted, such as decorated trees and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, were invented. Johnson systematically debunks the myth that “The Santa Claus Lie is Harmless,” while suggesting a workable, positive approach for parents in a Santa-obsessed season. But in the book’s final chapter, Johnson addresses the most pervasive Christmas myth of all—that our current Yuletide habits are inevitable and we cannot change them. Instead of letting Christmas control us, it’s high time we took control of Christmas!


Myth #1: Jesus Is the Reason for the Season


Myth #2: There Is a War on Christmas


Myth #3: Our Christmas Traditions Are Old-Fashioned


Myth #4: Christmas Spending Is Good for the Economy


Myth #5: Santa Claus Is Saint Nicholas


Myth #6: The Santa Claus Lie Is Harmless


Myth #7: Christmas Can’t Change


The Myths that Stole Christmas: Seven Misconceptions that Hijacked the Holiday (and How We Can Take It Back) will be available from Humanist Press on November 20, 2015.






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Book Talks

David Kyle Johnson is an associate professor of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and is also a professor for The Great Courses. His courses include Exploring Metaphysics (2014) and The Big Questions of Philosophy (2016).


In addition to being the author of The Myths that Stole Christmas, he also blogs for Psychology Today, has written and edited extensively for Wiley-Blackwell’s Philosophy and Pop Culture series, and has a popular Authors@Google talk on the movie Inception. He has published work in journals such as Religious Studies, Sophia, Philo, Think, and Science, Religion and Culture regarding metaphysics and philosophy of religion.


The Myths that Stole Christmas Book Talks

with David Kyle Johnson


David Kyle Johnson is available to give talks and lead discussions based around The Myths that Stole Christmas. Come and hear him speak at the events listed below, and check back frequently for updates!


Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia

November 29, 2015


Upper Moreland Library

Willow Grove, PA

Learn more here.


Lehigh Valley Humanists

December 6, 2015


Allentown Brew Works

Allentown, PA




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