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What to do on Christmas Day when you don’t even celebrate Christmas

For people who don’t celebrate Christmas, the day itself can fill you with dread.

There’s no waking up to presents, no massive feast for lunch, dinner or eating leftovers on the ensuing days.

It’s just another day, except most stores and activities are closed, while everyone else is having a ball. So what do you do?

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If you’re anything like this writer, Christmas was just never a thing in your house. Maybe you don’t celebrate it for religious reasons. Maybe you just can’t stand the carols.

You might even find it difficult to tell people that you don’t do anything to mark Christmas, because it’s so widely assumed that everyone did at least *something.*

Here’s how those in the Mashable office who don’t observe Christmas like to spend their day, after sleeping in and eating toast for brunch, of course.

1. Treat yourself to a present, so you don’t feel left out


Credit: pixabay

Giving a gift to yourself is a scene right out of Mr. Bean, but screw it!

Get yourself that new stereo. That nice new TV. Those tickets to that gig. You deserve it. You survived the year, right? Treat yourself.

2. Head out and eat Chinese food. Or anything that’s open, really.

A plate of Chinese food.


Credit: PIXABAY

The eating of Chinese food on Christmas Day is a ritual amongst many Jewish people in the U.S., as it’s often migrant-run restaurants that stay open when others are shut.

In Australia for instance, you can pop yourself down to a Vietnamese or Middle Eastern restaurant that’s open on Christmas Day.

Or you get yourself fed at the few fast food outlets open on the day.

3. Watch a movie, or binge on a TV series people have told you about

Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie in "Black Mirror" episode "Nosedive." She is taking a photograph of her drink at a cafe.


Credit: Netflix

End the brutal social embarrassment of having never seen Black Mirror, Westworld etc. once and for all.

Or just get ahead of the post-Christmas box office rush by seeing a new movie at the cinema before everyone else does.

4. Go to a park and watch folks play with their new toys

Because we’re not jealous. Not at all.

5. Go on holiday to somewhere warmer

If it’s freezing wherever you are, it’s worth considering a trip away somewhere for the holiday period where you can get a bit more sun and not worry about people doing the Christmas thing.

Anywhere quiet and moderately warm will do. As long as there’s no carolling.

6. Catch up on work you were going to do

While we don’t know what that entails for you personally, you should definitely do it now while the world is on pause.

You have a solid two-day window in which to email people without getting an instant reply. Bliss.

7. Volunteer somewhere

A screenshot from "The Simpsons" showing a newspaper. The headline reads: "Big Fat Man Has a Big Fat Heart."


Credit: Fox

There are plenty of homeless shelters or charities that need a hand helping the less fortunate this Christmas Day.

And you’ll feel ace for it too. Hit up Google to find charities in need of volunteers in your area.

8. If you’re in Australia, have a backpacker’s Christmas

North Bondi surf-club life-savers wear 'Baywatch-style' uniforms as they pose in front of their Christmas decorations at Bondi Beach on December 25, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Bondi Beach is a popular tourist destination on Christmas Day.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 25: North Bondi surf-club life-savers wear ‘Baywatch-style’ uniforms as they pose in front of their Christmas decorations at Bondi Beach on December 25, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Bondi Beach is a popular tourist destination on Christmas Day. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
Credit: Don Arnold/Getty Images

For some reason, travellers flock to Australia’s beaches to have a backpacker’s Christmas every Dec. 25.

It’s usually involves drinking and swimming (don’t do those things together though) as well as enjoying the sun as opposed to the snow. Yes, Down Under is backwards land.

9. Crash someone else’s Christmas celebrations

Whatever. It’s Christmas, right? They can’t turn you away on Christmas.

Maybe you’ve got a friend that knows of your Christmas-free predicament? Create your own anti-holidays holiday.

All of the food and drink, with none of the awkward family conversations.

UPDATE: Dec. 11, 2023, 1:12 p.m. AEDT This article was originally published Dec. 2016, and has since been updated in Dec. 2023.




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