Religions That Don't Celebrate Christmas, and What You Can Do Instead

Posted by Beni Restea on December 19th, 2019

christmas tree

It’s almost that time of year again. Front doors are adorned with elegantly woven evergreen wreaths, which in turn are adorned with red ribbons and brass sleigh bells. Through house windows, one can see festively decorated Christmas trees standing tall in living rooms, circled with ornately wrapped presents in all shapes and sizes.

Walking down the sidewalk, one can’t miss the toys stacked neatly in store windows, from remote control cars to lifelike toy dolls and video game consoles. Christmas lights line the borders of Christmas themed decorations hanging from light posts and signs proclaim the arrival of Christmas time and its accompanying good tidings and joy. While there are different traditions in different parts of the world, one thing remains consistent: Christmas cheer is inescapable and all-pervasive.

But not everyone celebrates Christmas. For some it is a matter of faith; for others, simple preference. Some just reject the consumerism and materialism of the holiday that has become increasingly centered around things rather than people. So what about those people?

For those who don’t celebrate the holiday, Christmas can be a trying time. While many enjoy the flashing lights and festive atmosphere, those who don’t celebrate can have a really hard time dealing with the pressure to conform to a culture in which the celebration of Christmas is semi-mandatory.

So what is one supposed to do, in a culture where the celebration of Christmas is socially expected and the choice to celebrate is met with apprehension and dismay? Here we’re going to explore some of the ins and outs of not celebrating, and Christmas, and what you can do instead of celebrating. Let’s get into it!

What religions do not celebrate Christmas?

Christmas is a holiday that has almost transcended its Christian origins. Aside from the occasional nativity scene or “Jesus is the reason for the season!” poster, Christmas has become so ubiquitously celebrated that it’s quite possible to celebrate the holiday as a non-Christian.

Some, however, have personal objections to celebrating, due to their faith. Conservative adherents of many religions outside of Christianity take issue with the celebration of Christmas, for the obvious reason that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. So which religions commonly reject the celebration of Christmas?

 Islam

Although Jesus Christ is an important figure in the Muslim faith, Islamic scriptures deny the divinity of Christ. It would stand to reason that a holiday celebrating his immaculate conception would not be well received among those who take these scriptures as truth. Around this time, dominated by festivity, most Muslim families avoid Christmas celebrations by spending quality time with family and friends, and enjoying a tasty homecooked meal.

Judaism

While most practicing Jewish-Americans do not celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be festive this time of year! From the twenty second of December to the thirtieth, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights. This holiday marks a sacred tradition that started during the Maccabean revolt, that has persisted up until this day.

How do Jewish people spend the holiday? Hanukkah is usually celebrated with lots of delicious food, fun games and quality family time. Sacred traditions also take place, like the lighting of the traditional Hanukkah Menorah that commemorates one of the most important events in post-torah Jewish history.

Hinduism

For Hindus, Christ is not a divine figure. Although highly revered, he is mainly relegated to a supporting role in the Hindu religion, as a wise and insightful figure but human nonetheless. HIndus celebrate the festival of lights, Diwali, in October every year, but during the Christmas season, many hindus simply go about their everyday lives. On Christmas day, when most people are celebrating, Hindus will be enjoying time with their loved ones just like any other day.

Christian Sects

While most Christians don’t take issue with the celebration of Christmas; it is a Christian holiday after all. However, there are certain sects of Christianity that reject the celebration of Christmas altogether!

Among the groups that don’t celebrate Christmas are the Quakers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and many of the factions of the Churches of Christ. Although there are a number of reasons for the apprehensive attitude towards the holiday, the primary reason cited by most Christian sects that don’t celebrate is its lack of mention in the Bible. Many also object to the traditions that are rooted in secular cultures.

What can you do instead of celebrating?

For those who don’t celebrate, the Christmas season can feel empty and lonesome. With acquaintances, friends and even family getting caught up in the festivities, those who opt not to are sometimes left behind. So what can you do when the Christmas season is here and you choose not to join in?

Take a trip

Why not take a holiday season trip? A change of pace, a couple relaxing days in a cozy vacation retreat with your friends, an escape from the stress of everyday life. While most people are gathered around living room Christmas trees, with children clamoring over presents and adults trying to avoid simmering disagreements and touchy subjects.

Perhaps you’ll choose to take a trip to the mountains; rent a cozy cabin in the mountains, and start a roaring fire in the fireplace, while you read a book and sip a warm mug of tea. Maybe you’ll find yourself in a condo on the beach, with the sun and surf just outside your doorstep. Wherever you decide to go, you’ll find that you can have a great holiday season without so much as a mention of Christmas! 

Volunteer for a charity

While you may not agree with the religious roots of Christianity, there’s one thing that anyone should be able to get behind: helping those in need! This holiday season, many will go hungry, cold and homeless, but you can help! When you volunteer for charity, you make a tangible difference in the lives of everyone you help. You show those who have received a hard lot in life that there is good in the world.

Some charities help the unfortunate get a hot, tasty meal when they are most hungry; some help the needy to find a warm bed to sleep in. Some give clothes to those who need them, or even basic necessities that are donated by those with too much stuff in their houses.. Whatever charity you choose to volunteer for, you will gain satisfaction from the knowledge that you are improving the lives of others. 

Find other people who don’t celebrate Christmas

Wherever you live, whatever your life experience has been, you probably have friends who no longer celebrate the holiday. Maybe they have a religious conviction, or maybe they just don’t have anyone to celebrate with. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt they’d appreciate the chance to connect to other people who don’t celebrate.

For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, the holidays can be a difficult time. With constant reminders that you don’t follow the crowds and celebrate like everyone else, it can leave you feeling alienated, an outsider among a crowd of homogenous drones.

 

But this isn’t a bad thing; individuality is what strengthens a society! Cultural and ideological diversity is the glue that holds our civilization together. Your identity is what makes you special, what sets you apart; if refusing to celebrate Christmas is part of that identity, own it!

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Beni Restea

About the Author

Beni Restea
Joined: July 15th, 2019
Articles Posted: 8

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