How to enjoy the holidays (when you don’t celebrate Christmas)

Not everyone believes in the principles of Christmas and it is no one’s place to impose their cultural or religious likeness on you. Those of different faiths have many alternatives to invest in.

Come December when the holiday season commences, it may be difficult to escape the bombastic decorations for Christmas. People string colorful lights around their homes and bring out their holiday best in efforts to reinforce the Christmas spirit. Because of this, those of certain cultures that do not celebrate the widely celebrated holiday may be alienated by the decked out decor of the season. However, you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to feel in tune with the holiday season.


First off, it’s important to be cognizant of the fact that it’s totally acceptable if your faith does not partake in Christmas festivities. Not everyone believes in the principles of Christmas and it is no one’s place to impose their cultural or religious likeness on you. Those of different faiths have many alternatives to invest in.

One of the cool things you can do in California, particularly around the Riverside area, is to visit the Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside. Even though some decorations are Christmas-themed, overall it’s a very neutral event that puts most of the focus on the extravagant light show. It will be sure to give young children and adults alike a unique experience that will fill the void of a traditional Christmas. The event spans from the day after Thanksgiving all the way until the seventh of January. There’s plenty of time to plan a trip and enjoy the wonderful hues of fireworks and lights that are offered. Even if you don’t go to this particular display, there’s a plethora of festivals and parades around the holiday season that are particularly festive that do not necessarily partake in Christmas customs.

“My family is very Catholic and we don’t celebrate Christmas. During Christmas time, we usually just visit a lot of amusement parks and festivals. You still feel part of the community even though you aren’t actually celebrating Christmas,” said Samantha Arturo, fourth-year anthropology major.

Another alternative method of enjoying the holiday season is embarking on a nice cruise with family. Cruises are the ultimate way of involving family members of all ages in something very wholesome: Cruises cater to all age demographics and there’s a sense of discovery that you’ll be able to share with your family as the year closes out. It’s a great way to get away from home and travel in style. Few things sound more relaxing than drifting across the ocean on a luxury cruise with your loved ones at your side.

“I’ve actually been on a few cruises throughout the holiday seasons. They’re just really fun and manage to get all the family involved in something that appeals to basically anyone. Anything you could ever want is literally on a ship,” proclaimed Thomas Lee, second-year biology major.

The last fun method of enjoying a Christmas-free holiday is probably the simplest option and doesn’t even require a “boatload” of money: Many people that celebrate other faiths and partake in non-Christmas festivities acknowledge some interesting concepts about the holiday, but instead of celebrating the holiday as a whole, they take their favorite aspects of Christmas and create their own unique sort of holiday. Building your own original holiday is a wonderful way of making yourself feel a personalized sense of inclusion by designing whatever suits you and your family. This way, you not only prevent yourself from feeling as though you’re out of bounds with celebrating something that infringes upon your religion but you also maintain this self-made sense of belongingness that many Christmas-celebrators feel around the holiday season.

Above all else, Christmas is a holiday that, in theory, should be about the intangible love you have for the special ones in your life. All of the gifts and other superficial elements of the holidays have simply become tacked on as time has progressed.

“My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas but we do find some things interesting about the holiday. We get a Christmas tree but deck it out in our own original way by putting African knickknacks and other culturally expressive items on it. It’s a cool way to make it feel sort of like Christmas,” shared Derek Amandu, fourth-year sociology major.

Above all else, Christmas is a holiday that, in theory, should be about the intangible love you have for the special ones in your life. All of the gifts and other superficial elements of the holidays have simply become tacked on as time has progressed. Even if people don’t celebrate Christmas but are constantly exposed to the proportionally high influx of Christmas decor and joy, it’s important to note that there are plenty of options at families’ disposal to emulate that feeling of Christmas spirit. No matter what anyone celebrates, everyone deserves to spend their break and holidays doing something that generates love and happiness.

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