I Don’t Celebrate Christmas, So Here’s What I Do Instead

Instagram / @basmahqazi

As I write this story about not celebrating Christmas, I have a Christmas movie playing (Home Alone, if you’re wondering) and I’m humming Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree under my breath so I’m aware of what a walking contradiction I am. But yes, I don’t celebrate Christmas.

There you have it, cue the shocked faces and the gasps, which always tend to rub me the wrong way when they happen. You see, as a Muslim woman who has been born and raised in Australia, it always surprises me how many people aren’t aware that not everyone celebrates Christmas

I remember a year ago someone asked me if I’ve done my Christmas shopping and I responded, “Oh, I don’t celebrate Christmas” and they looked at me as if I grew three heads. “What? Why not? What do you do then?”.

Mind you, they knew I was Muslim, and while Christmas is celebrated by people who aren’t particularly religious, its roots do stem from Christianity so it shouldn’t come as a shock when someone, who isn’t Christian, doesn’t celebrate Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas time. I enjoy driving around looking at decorated homes and watching festive flicks on a Friday night, small pleasures I’ve actually been taking part in since I was a child, thanks to my parents. But do I have a Christmas tree inside a corner of my home? No, I don’t. 

Muslims have two holidays a year called Eid. There’s Eid-al-Fitr that takes place after our holy month of Ramadan, when we fast for 30 days. And Eid-al-Adha after the holy pilgrimage of Hajj is completed. Each Eid consists of three days, so six days in total when Muslims spend time with friends and family and feast on food that would keep us satisfied for a year. We dress to the nines, exchange gifts and donate to charity, which is the most important part of it all. 

So then if I don’t celebrate Christmas, what do I (and millions of other people) do on Christmas Day?

For us, Christmas is really just another public holiday. We’ll go on a road trip, stress about the fact that we didn’t do our grocery shopping on time and maybe go on a Macca’s run because it’s one of the few places that are open. We’ll say “Merry Christmas!” to our neighbours and watch cheesy holiday movies on the telly if we decide to stay home. December is the most magical time of the year even for someone like me, and while I don’t celebrate, I still appreciate the festivities leading up to the 25th. 

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