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Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Christmas is one of those holidays that just seems to be filled with cheer and wonder. Whether you are celebrating a secular or religious Christmas, your day is sure to be filled with happiness, especially with a little help from wikiHow. Read some helpful tips on how to celebrate a secular, religious, kid-friendly, or consumer-free Christmas after the jump. Happy Holidays!

Method 1 of 4: Celebrating a Secular Christmas

1.  Spread cheer.
When you hear Christmas songs, instead of being grumpy (ever heard of Ebenezer Scrooge?) smile and whistle along. Being cheerful during the Christmas season really will help in spreading Christmas spirit to those around you, plus it helps you enjoy it more too.

Wish others a Merry Christmas if you know they celebrate Christmas. If you’re not sure, just say Happy Holidays! Either way, you are spreading the holiday cheer.

2. Enjoy your country’s Christmas traditions.
Let yourself be a kid again and enjoy the holiday spirit. Whether it’s leaving cookies out for Santa Claus, watching for Baba Noel out the window, or leaving your clogs by the fire for Sinterklaas, indulge in a little holiday tradition and give into the magic.

3 Decorate your house for Christmas.
The possibilities for decorating are nearly endless. Put Christmas lights on your house. Hang mistletoe in the doorways (particularly if you know that special someone is coming over,) hang a homemade wreath on your door, or put Christmas figurines like Santa or Rudolph out on your counters.

4. Buy and decorate a Christmas tree.
Go with your family to your local Christmas tree farm to cut your own or head to a lot selling pre-cut Christmas trees. Pick out a Christmas tree that fits your house. After you’ve gotten your tree situated, wrap it in lights and begin hanging the ornaments. Don’t forget to water it occasionally and safeguard it from pets!
You can decorate your tree with family heirloom ornaments or try something new by decorating a tree with Star Trek or superhero themed ornaments, or with little trains, or with Disney characters for example. It’s really up to you--be as creative or traditional as you like.

5. Join up with friends and family.
For many people, Christmas is about gathering with friends and family to enjoy each others company and celebrate the holiday. The day is a national holiday and most folks get a day off work. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with friends and family. Create your own traditions or celebrate with the traditions that have been passed down in your family.

6. Invite your friends or family over for Christmas dinner.
Make it a potluck if you want to keep expenses (and the workload) manageable. The important thing is just to get together with people you love and make the winter a little warmer by sharing the warmth of caring with them. Consider making a traditional Christmas dinner complete with roast turkey, or create your own traditions by branching out and making whatever you want!
7 Go Christmas caroling.
Either have it at your home, go door to door, or go to an old folks' home and do it. Learn some Christmas or seasonal songs, and sing! It's fun, and even if your voice isn't great, hopefully, you won't be singing alone––you'll get some cover from your more talented friends! If you can’t go caroling for some reason, blast Christmas music throughout your house, while you’re wrapping presents, or during your Christmas party.
For song ideas, try songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Silver Bells," “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Let it Snow,” or “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas.”

8. Watch Christmas movies.
Have a movie night during which you invite friends or family over and serve hot apple cider and popcorn or cocoa and cookies. Play Christmas movies like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” "A Christmas Story" or any number of other seasonal movies.

9. Do a generous act.
This is in the spirit of spreading joy, kindness, beauty and love during the Christmas season. Maybe you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, or maybe you could help with a local toy drive or food drive for those who have less than you do.

10. Consider giving gifts wrapped in lovely wrapping paper.
You don't have to spend big bucks on gifts––small tokens are fine. Some families enjoy giving gifts to one another to show their appreciation for one another. You can buy gifts or make them yourself. Learn how to become an expert gift wrapper here.
Gather around the Christmas tree with your family on Christmas morning and exchange gifts. Or, sit by the fire with your loved one and enjoy Christmas together.
11. Do something fun with your family outdoors.
Head down to the beach or the local park. In colder areas, go sledding or build a snowman! If there’s no snow, bundle up and go on a crisp walk or hike with your loved ones. It’s always great to get out of the house and breath in the fresh air.

If you live in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or other countries in the Southern Hemisphere, your Christmas is likely to be a warm one. This gives you the opportunity to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of nature and enjoy some of your Christmas Day swimming, walking, resting on the grass or playing a game outside together. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat!

12. Deal with 'Scrooges' gracefully.
If someone says "Let's cancel Christmas" or something else negative, simply say something disarming, like, "Sorry you don't enjoy this holiday. You're still welcome to come and join us for the day if you haven't got anyplace else to go." The Scrooge's issues that will prevent him or her from celebrating may keep him or her from accepting your invitation, or may cause him or her to accept, but make frequent disparaging remarks. Just blow them off as kindly as possible and continue your celebration, showing compassion to the poor Scrooge.

Method 2 of 4: Celebrating a Religious Christmas
1 Reflect on the reason for Christmas.
If you're not sure about it or you're rusty on the background, do some research. In the Bible, you can find the Christmas story in the Gospel according to Luke, Chapters 1 and 2, as well as the Gospel according to Matthew Chapters 1 and 2. Consider reading these chapters aloud as part of your family's holiday. Ask members of the family for their own impressions of the stories given, to personalize their understanding.
Talk to children regularly about the meaning of Christmas and tell them the stories about Christmas. Find beautiful illustrations to accompany the Bible stories to capture their interest.

2. Invite God to come and celebrate the day with you. Some people choose to do this by attending a Christmas Eve service.
Some do it by sitting before the Christmas tree and silently inviting God to just be with them. However you decide to do it, for the Christian, making God a part of your day is vital.

3. Choose some activities that you and your friends or family will enjoy and which fit with the meaning of Christmas.
Consider preparing some special foods for the poor and needy, visiting people who live alone or have no family close or dropping in to see the sick in the hospital. You might even give handmade gifts to people who aren't likely to get much this season.

4. Spend time with others to celebrate.
Gather together at the homes of friends and family, and spend some time in fellowship with others who believe as you do during this special time.

5. Give to others.
Whether to your family and friends, or to others less fortunate, spend some time this Christmas in giving. We give in remembrance of the gifts of the Magi to the Savior, but at the very heart of it all, recall that we are to give because He first gave to us.
6. Spend time quietly being thankful for the gift of Jesus to the world that we celebrate on Christmas.
This is the day that Christians have set aside to celebrate the beginning of the greatest gift mankind has ever received. Coming into the Christmas season with a grateful heart is essential if you really want to make the extension from Jesus's giving of His amazing gift to your giving and receiving.
7 Create your own nativity scene.
A beautiful way to celebrate Christmas is to create a nativity scene within your house or on your front yard. If you have children, ask them to help you. They will love making the little angels and other figures.
If you don’t have the ability to create your own nativity scene, consider attending a Nativity play at your local school or church.

Method 3 of 4: Celebrating a Secular Christmas with Children

1. Involve your children in your family’s traditions.
Wherever you live in the world, teach your kids your family’s traditions at a young age. There is something about Christmas time that is absolutely magical to>

2. Tell your kids Christmas stories.
You can do this by reading to them, telling them stories before bedtime, or watching Christmas movies with them. A great idea is to buy a book about all the Christmas traditions around the world. This will give your children an opportunity to learn about other cultures’ traditions.
3.  Help you children believe Santa Claus.
Explain who Santa is and how he is going to come visit your house. To really help your children's’ belief in Santa, help them leave cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. When they are asleep, eat the cookies, leaving some crumbs as evidence and drink the milk (if any was left out.) If your child leaves Santa a note, create a note ‘from Santa’ thanking your child or answering questions that he or she may have asked. Make sure you write the letter in a different handwriting than your normal one.
You can also leave carrots out for the flying reindeer. Have your kids leave carrots out for the reindeer and when they’re asleep, nibble on the carrots, leaving some gnawed pieces behind as evidence.
4 Decorate Christmas cookies.
Whip up a batch of sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies and have your children decorate them (heck, you can decorate them too!) Your kids will love making their cookies into colorful, delicious creations.

5. Have your children help decorate the tree.
Once you have put up the Christmas tree and wrapped it in lights, gather your family together to decorate it. If your children are very little, help them along by lifting them up. Assign them special ornaments that they get to put up on the tree.
6. Show your children how to hang stockings by the hearth.
If this is part of your Christmas tradition, your children will love the anticipation of hanging their stockings by the fire and waiting for Santa. A cute idea is, when your children are asleep, to fill their stockings and then take them off the hearth and leave them at the foot of their bed. In the morning, ask them to bring their stockings into your room and you can all open your stocking gifts on your bed.

Method 4 of 4: Taking the Commercial out of Christmas

1. Choose ritual and tradition over gift giving.

Establish family rituals and traditions that honor the spirit of Christmas and involve all family members. It might be attending church as a whole family, it might be giving a meal preparation task to each member of the family, however young or old, or it might be writing heartfelt letters to one another describing how their acts of kindness have helped you through the year. Whatever your ritual (or set of rituals), place more emphasis on caring and sharing than trying to outdo one another with gift giving.

2. Avoid spending money you don't have.
Don't go into debt for the sake of one holiday. You don't have to give expensive purchased gifts; instead, you can make a gift. Many people feel a homemade gift is better because it shows thought and consideration for the recipient. Give within your means, people will understand and you set an excellent example that liberates others from the consumer treadmill.

Gift ideas include: bookmarks, framed family photos you have taken over the year, holiday cookies or breads, or "cookie kits" (the flour, sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips and other spices are layered in a plain Mason jar, and instructions attached to a piece of raffia or a ribbon letting them know what to add, whether it's water, oil, egg, or whatever). See How to make your own Christmas gifts for more ideas.
3. Learn some of the non-commercialized Christmas songs.
There are some beautiful carols that you can sing together––maybe someone in your family or circle of friends can play the piano or guitar; if so, encourage them to play, and have a sing-along. Consider carols like "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World," and "The First Noel." You can find the lyrics online if you don't know them.

4. Mute the ads! Seriously, stop the "buy this, buy that for Christmas" ads from invading your home life.
The consumer economy has its place but it's not in your living room during a sacred season. Teach kids to mute the ads and do it yourself. Or, record your favorite shows and fast forward your way through them. Everyone will feel greatly more at peace for it and there is less incitement to go shop till you drop.
Avoid blindly obeying the encouragement of retailers to make Christmas all about consumerism, as that is far from the true meaning, regardless of whether you're religious or not.

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