Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
This is not surprising to me at all..
Religion is as much cultural as it is spiritual. Many folks, even in Orthodox, attend services, sing songs, dress in ceremonious clothing, and celebrate holidays for cultural reasons rather then strictly religious. It is the same with Christmas. Folks who do not necessarily believe in Christmas do in fact still appreciate the cultural significance of carols, Christmas imagery, family gatherings, and the generally festive atmosphere. Further, many folks are capitulated in nostalgia
for their childhood or a different time, and associate this with the holidays they experienced then but today may not as strictly believe in as then.
When I got one of my first jobs in public education, the interviewing teachers were both Orthodox, and my priest had written me a letter of recommendation because all my experience at the time was only in the Church. During the interview we had a lovely discussion about Orthodox, and not in the context of religion (after all it was a job interview, not post-liturgy coffee hour
) but rather in the context of cultural expression. Religious culture gives folks an outlet for cultural expression. After all, if you don't believe in God, still the concept of God is relevant in the concept of accepting the circumstances of reality, which is what the gods of Homeric Epics represent and symbolize. If folks don't believe in Zeus, surely from the Odyssey they can understand how Zeus represents Odysseus yielding to the conditions of reality which are beyond human control, be these simply natural forces, social forces, or Divine. Folks who discredit the Divine obviously favor the first options, and for them the imagery of Christmas can serve the same function, as an expression of culture, family, history, identity, social roles, values, etc etc..
Religion is art, and art is open to interpretation, and no body has full control over art, be it a painting, literature, or music.