Not every individual is looking to open presents on December 25

Alexis Megdanoff, Online Editor

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When every commercial on television plays carols and every shop along the street is decked in bright lights and tinsel, it is often easy to forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas. For some, Dec. 25 is just another day to check off of the calendar.

“I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, and my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all. We just sort of sit around and do what we normally do,” senior Moira O’Callaghan said. “My friends and family that do celebrate Christmas know we don’t celebrate it, so they don’t usually bring it up. We’ve never celebrated it, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.”

Aside from Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are many religions that do not recognize Christmas as a holiday. These religions usually have other celebrations that take place throughout the year.

“We [Muslims] have two holidays which are both called Eid,” French teacher Melissa Saeed said. “One is called Eid al Fata and that one is at the end of Ramadan, and is the closest equivalent to Christmas. [During Ramadan,] We fast for a whole month from sunrise to sunset. Once that month is done, we have a big celebration. The kids get gifts, family comes over, and all that good stuff.”

Although Eid al Fata is similar to Christmas, it follows the Lunar calendar, causing it to move 15 days ahead each year. In 2015, it will begin mid-June and end mid-July. Another non-Christian holiday that takes place is the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah which lasts for eight days.

“Christmas originated from the celebration of Jesus’ birth,” junior Donny Rositano said. “Jewish people don’t celebrate Christmas because Jesus is considered the Messiah, the savior of the people; but Jewish people don’t believe Jesus is the true savior, so they don’t celebrate his birth. Even though Hanukkah and Christmas take place around the same time, they don’t mean the same thing and they aren’t related at all.”

Because it is such a widely celebrated holiday in America, those who do not participate in Christmas usually make accommodations to avoid confusion.

“Before I was married, I was Christian, so my family celebrates it,” Saeed said. “We’re going to go to my mom’s house around Christmas time, but because I don’t want my daughter to get really confused-she’s really little-we call it the Penguinfest. And so my sister-in-law decorates everything my daughter receives with penguins.”

Those who do not participate in Christmas have options as to how to approach holiday. While most are busy finding gifts for friends and family, everyone who is not planning anything can enjoy December without the added stress.

“When we don’t have a holiday during Christmas time, I get to totally chill,” Saeed said. “Everyone else is running to parties which means I have free time. It’s wonderful. On Christmas Day we have hang-out-fest at the movie theater all day, because no one else is there-it’s just us.”

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