As a family, we have decided not to celebrate Christmas. There are a few reasons for this; some personal, some related to all things frugal. But, it is working so well for us – a fact of which I’m always reminded as we approach December and all the swing of the festive season.
After having chatted to many, many people about Christmas, their reasons for celebrating are usually:
1. It’s about time with friends and family
2. It’s a religious holiday
3. It’s a time of giving – to one another and to charitable causes
4. We do it for the children
So, we had a good think about this. And here’s what we came up with:
1. I love spending time with my friends and (some of) my family. For this reason, we make efforts to invite them over, to see them and spend meaningful, non-obligatory time with them. In this way, they know we’re doing it because we want to and not begrudgingly or out of compulsion. Everyone can relax and feel happy in the knowledge that this is exactly where we all want to be.
2. No, it’s not a religious holiday. Every year, there are articles and newspaper pieces on the pagan origins of Christmas. Google it, if you’d like more info, or look here. Does this matter? Well, to us it does. I would rather any religious activity in which I participate be without the taints of distinctly non-Christian elements. This goes for Easter and Halloween too. This is a personal view – I’m not saying anyone has to agree with me.
3. Shouldn’t we always try to be generous? I don’t want my little girl growing up thinking that the only time to give is one holiday, set aside by commerce and tradition. Every year, we see people stressing and incurring debt to buy presents for others because they ‘have’ to. People rush around, buying what they see; not what they would really like to give a person (often, not always). By not being part of Christmas, we can wait until we find exactly the right thing for a special friend. Or, we can give to the homeless and other charities all through the year. Their needs don’t diminish after Christmas, but the gifts and donations do.
4. My daughter has jumped on board with the idea, and is proud to tell her friends that we don’t do Christmas. She gets gifts throughout the year – one day makes no difference to her. And this has taught her to think about the norms and traditions of society and decide for herself how she feels and whether she agrees with them. I’m proud of that. Many adults I’ve met haven’t reached that point yet 😉
As I say, these are personal reasons; and I don’t intend on pushing them onto anyone else. But, I do want to assure those who are considering giving up or down-scaling on Christmas that we have been met with such support and understanding. We are spending our whole December holiday with friends and family; and, come January, our bank account is still set to be looking pretty ok.