Merry Christmas with a twist: It’s not all Santa, Christmas trees

Jordan Rubin
features editor

What do Chinese food, movie marathons, and long naps have in common?

These are how people who don’t celebrate Christmas spend one of the most festive days of the year. Christians eagerly look forward to the arrival of Dec. 25 but there are also folks who don’t celebrate. They choose to spend this day not going to church, singing Christmas carols and opening gifts – rather each typically has a tradition unique to his or her family.

A popular tradition among families who do not celebrate Christmas is eating Chinese food. This is not an urban myth but a reality. Chinese restaurants are typically the only restaurants open on Christmas, and non-Christian students have made ordering in or eating at a Chinese restaurant a tradition in their family. According to The Atlantic, Christmas is the ultimate day of business for Chinese restaurants.

Junior Lainey Morris and her sister, freshman Jamie Morris, order Chinese food for dinner every Christmas and watch movies all day long. “We wake up Christmas morning and watch movies, make gingerbread houses and eat Chinese food for dinner every year, “ Morris said.

Watching movies is not unique to the Morris sisters. There are always the holiday favorites that many love to watch year after year, regardless of their affinity for the holiday. Just as popular an option is going to the movie theater to take in the latest at the cinema. Movie theaters are often packed on Christmas Day. Most theaters are open, giving people who don’t celebrate the holiday a fun activity to do with their families. “My mom, dad, sister, brother, grandma and I always go to a movie together for Christmas as our tradition,” freshman Nate Jacobs said.

Another popular tradition for families on Christmas who don’t celebrate is going on a vacation. People like to get away for the holiday and relax. It may be easier to go on vacation during this time when a family does not have holiday obligations at home. These families can take advantage of the time off of school and work to get away and visit somewhere new or an old favorite holiday spot.

Junior Bailey Goldstein goes with her family to their house in Colorado for Christmas every year. Her family goes skiing, watches home videos and eats Chinese food for dinner. “It is my favorite family tradition to go to Colorado for Christmas and ski all day long,” Goldstein said.

Families that don’t celebrate Christmas, are often invited to spend the day with friends who do. It becomes their tradition to enjoy the holiday with others and an opportunity to be a part of the festive traditions that Christmas offers.

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