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Alternative Holiday Ideas

By: Shaila Anjum

Tis the season! Or is it? While most of us are gathering with family and spreading the holiday cheer, there are those of us that don’t celebrate Christmas like Jehovah’s Witnesses. Living in a globalizing country means being around all sorts of different celebrations. When Hindus are celebrating Diwali, Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah and Muslims are celebrating Eid, we all harmoniously live together either without much notice to these holidays taking place or appreciating and sending best wishes to our diverse friends. But what happens when there are parades and lights, and trees and gifts being passed around you when you don't celebrate?

As adults we may find It easy to ignore what’s going on around us and look the other way, but for children in school just starting to see celebrations they are not a part of can be upsetting and leave them feeling like an outcast.

Some of us still partake in a few Christmas traditions for the sole purpose of bringing friends closer together or just receiving gifts. Sometimes coping with a world lost in celebrations that you were not raised to be a part of means simply joining in and having a good time. Other times it may leave you feeling lonesome and left out. This of course goes for all holidays that you may be surrounded by but do not celebrate. If this is you, no need to worry. Not celebrating something doesn’t mean you have to be left out, alone or bored.

Here are some things you can try leading up-to and after Christmas:

Exchange Gifts Anyway

Being a part of a tradition that bring people together is a wonderful thing and can have us feeling the warm and fuzzies even if we do not celebrate the religious aspect of it.

Have a Holiday Dinner or Potluck

Celebrate the time off and plan a holiday dinner with those that do celebrate and even those that do not celebrate the holidays. Everyone loves food!

Enjoy the Deals

This is the time we non-celebrates take advantage of the amazing Christmas, Black Friday and Boxing Day deals.

Gift Cards!

Do you work in a workplace that gives gift-cards or bonuses around the holiday? Enjoy them! Whether you celebrate or don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s always fun to shop – especially when it doesn’t cost you any of your own money.

Watch the Parades

The artistic display of hardworking individuals that spend half a year working on floats for this time of year deserve to be celebrated and congratulated for their dedication and beautiful displays just to see a smile on the audiences faces.

Join in on the Holiday Events

There are several free events taking place all year round including Christmas. In Mississauga you can find events happening in celebration square, Brampton has gage park and Toronto has events all around including the infamous Christmas market! These are just some examples of many organized events taking place in your city. City websites often have a list of these events and more which can easily be accessed on our trusty google search engines.

Things to try on Christmas Day for non-celebrators since many places may be closed:


While most people are away with family and friends celebrating the holiday season, there are Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that rely solely on their volunteers to function. Some include old age residences, wildlife centers, child care facilities, hospitals, orphanages and shelters. When there isn’t much to do because most places are closed, you can always occupy your time and mind by giving to the parts of your community that need it most.

Organize Yourself

It’s difficult to stay on top of everything you need to or want to do. During the holidays when most places are closed and you have some extra time on your hands, why not make an efficient to do list or do some cleaning. Be productive and maybe start a new personal or professional project. Get those tasks done that have been sitting all year round waiting to get done.

Get Fit

While everyone else is getting their holiday belly on, you can get a head start on that summer bod! Or year-round fitness goals. In some areas, gyms may be closed on Christmas day. Use this day to come up with home workouts. Do some research and find ways to be fit in your own home or community, like a local park.

Go to the Cineplex

A movie theatre is one place we can count on no matter what holiday it is! Enjoy a movie or two when the theatres are not terribly packed.

Self-Care Extravaganza!

Not just any self-care day, make it a little bit of everything. From fitness at home or a gym visit, to doing your nails – whether it’s a nail trim or a full out manicure and pedicure. Face masks, waxing, hair mask, hair-cut, body scrubs, wine with a candle in a salt bath, a long meditation session, yoga – the possibilities are endless! Global holidays can have a healthy effect on those that do and don’t celebrate the holiday directly. The joy and cheer in the streets have people smiling to themselves and others in the streets more so than any other time of the year. The atmosphere is full of love and warmth that can help elevate moods of everyone around.

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