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How to Celebrate Christmas When You’re Not Christian



Boston University


How to Celebrate Christmas When You’re Not Christian

Son of a NUT-cracker, I want to celebrate Christmas too!

Yasmin Younis


That time of the year is approaching.

That time where celebrities attempt to cover Christmas classics. That time where bells jingle, peppermint is in the air (and in everything consumable), and “Home Alone 2” is on TV almost every day for a month.

That's right ladies and gentlemen; it's the most wonderful time of the year: CHRISTMAS TIME.

I love Christmas. Like, I really love Christmas. I'm talking Buddy the Elf from Elf type of love for Christmas. Deadass, Christmas is probably one of my favorite holidays of the year. But here's the thing... I'm not Christian, I'm Muslim.

Well shit.

Looks like I really screwed the pooch on this one, right? WRONG. Just because I'm not Christian doesn't necessarily mean I'm not allowed to enjoy the holiday spirit, let alone indulge in the holiday deals (I mean 40-50% off full-priced clothes or Sephora holiday value sets? Count me in).

Honestly, shout out to capitalism for making Christmas accessible to everyone with a credit card.

Those of you #blessed enough to celebrate Christmas are probably asking yourselves, "Yasmin, did you ever believe in Santa?" or "How bored are you on December 25th?” or more importantly, "How does a non-Christian celebrate Christmas?"

Okay first off… Of course I believed in Santa. I mean my parents may not be Christian but that doesn't mean they're the Grinch.

And for your information, I literally saw him at the mall all the time during the holiday season.

When you’re a kid, you believe what you see and I saw an old, white-bearded fat man adorned in a red and white suit named “Santa,” asking kids what they wanted for Christmas.

As a kid, my mom used to tell me because I was such a good girl, Santa would visit me during both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the two Islamic holidays. I mean, if he could travel the whole world in a matter of 24 hours he sure as hell could make an extra stop twice a year for an eager, holiday-spirited little Yasmin.

My family bakes Christmas cookies. We use a recipe my grandma has kept since my mom was a child. We even decorate the house with Christmas lights.

One year, my mom bought me a box DVD set of all those classic and quirky Christmas claymation films she and I love to watch. Last year, I decorated my dorm room with a little Santa figure and a mini Christmas tree. In recent years, I participated in Secret Santa with my friends. When I was in high school I even managed to convince my family to buy a Christmas tree when Eid al-Adha fell around Christmas.

Yes, December 25th is quite possibly one of the most boring days out of the entire year. Literally all I do is sleep in, lay in bed, eat food, watch reruns of "A Christmas Story," fall asleep, wake up, and repeat until the clock strikes midnight and it's no longer Christmas.

There's the stereotypical Jewish Christmas consisting of Chinese food and a movie, but what about others?

“My family goes to see a movie,” says Anam Amirali, a Muslim and Boston University junior. “Then they proceed to complain about how all restaurants are closed in our ‘secular country’.”

“My family and I make Christmas cards geared towards our family business with sales and discounts because Christmas is gift season,” says Simi Totwani, a Hindu and junior at Boston University.

Although Christmas is synonymous with spending, it’s also a time for giving.

“What I do on Christmas Day depends on whether or not Hannukah lands on the same week as Christmas,” says Natalie Gaber, a Jewish Freshman at Boston University. “But last year it didn't, so on Christmas Day I spent the whole day giving out toys to different children's hospitals.”

It’s safe to say Natalie killed the game last Christmas.

While “Christ” is in “Christmas,” that doesn’t mean you have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas. Us non-Christians just have unconventional ways of celebrating, unique to each of our families. Sometimes we sleep in, other times we go to the movies, or even better yet, we volunteer. But one thing is for sure: Christian or not, at the end of the day we’re all with our families and that’s the true meaning of Christmas.

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