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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 16:55 GMT
How do you celebrate Christmas?

This is a second page of your comments.

Your comments:

As this is primarily a time for families, etc, please spare a thought for all the people who will be alone and the homeless, I personally wish them all a happy Christmas wherever they may be.
Andrew, UK

To me it's a special time to spend with loved ones and to relax. Merry Christmas everyone and have a prosperous new year!
Kirsty, Sunderland

As the first Christmas since splitting up with my husband it is a very different experience from previous years. I have no children, so I'm back at my parents for the day - but heading back to friends as soon as I am released from family duties. This year I'm going from feeling festive (no religious stuff) to wishing it would go away. But overall I think I'm still glad it's here and am looking forward to having some time off work and indulging in a few excesses! Merry Christmas.
Liz, London

Bah Humbug!! Actually, it's great. Just to watch my kids' (6 and 9) faces and excitement makes it all worth while - oh, and they know all about the reason for Christmas too...
Simon, Cardiff

The only really essential part of Christmas is watching the Bond movie.
Adam, London, UK

I have to admit I used to celebrate Christmas. Then I discovered that it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ at all. It's a very old Pagan festival celebrated even before Christ's birth. He can't even have been born in December, afterall the shepherds where "Watching there flocks in the fields at night"! which they don't do in the middle of winter. However, I do enjoy the time off work, as it does give time to enjoy the company of all my family and friends.
Steve, Cumbria, UK

I don't celebrate the day however I enjoy to see the way of the people who celebrate it. I feel there is no change for several years, the people are enjoying in same style and fashion.
IMran Khan, Den Haag, Holland

Christmas to me is all about being with the most important people in my life. Every year I spend it will all my family, boyfriend, Nan, uncles, aunts, cousins - the list is endless. This year will alot of my family going away, me and my boyfriend are spending it together, just the two of us. I am really looking forward to it, as he is the most important person in the world to me. Merry Christmas everyone!
Mirella, Surrey

Well I celebrate Christmas with joy, it doesn't need presents and a turkey - it's all about your families.
Sam, Havant/Hampshire

It really does live up to all expectations
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England
Many people have suggested here that Christmas is pants and never lives up to their expectation and the hype. Well, it does if you celebrate it truly, celebrating with Christian Love for others, the birth of the son of God onto the earth. It really does live up to all expectations. Do you really expect over eating and being sick to be that exciting?
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

I think of all those needy people all across the world who are starving.....and then I get drunk to forget the woes of this world.
Ahmed, Hailsham, UK

I, like many others are shift workers. I will be at work over Christmas. But at least I miss the great disappointment when the reality fails to match the hype.
Mike, UK

In such a horrible, unsafe time, it's lovely to read comments here from Muslims and Christians proving that we can live together and be friends at Christmas (and throughout the year). I think I'll start a new ritual and become aware of important days in the Islamic calendar (currently I couldn't name a single Islamic holiday) and acknowledge their importance to others.
Caroline, York, UK

I will be missing home this Christmas. Missing my family, the pub on Christmas Eve, the mince pies and Eastenders.
Louise, Brit residing in the USA

I don't celebrate Xmas, but it brings back memories from my childhood, communist Hungary. We did have a Xmas tree in school with a red star on the top. It was officially called "The Day of the Pinetree", but of course everybody called it Xmas tree and we all had fun, presents exchange without any religious thoughts. It was nice. Now I live in Israel and we have Chanukah. It gives me the same pleasure. It is a great pity that in the name of the beloved God for each different religion people hate each other, fight against each other.
AS-Balint, Israel

Unfortunately some say I do not really celebrate Christmas. This is not because I am a scrooge or a party pooper but it isn't my religion although I accept it. Year after year and to worsening degrees consumerism has left the poignancy of Xmas behind. The idea being the birth of Christ and good will and peace to all men. Surely then it should be Christmas everyday particularly in the current situation the whole world finds itself in. I still go to my sisters for the meal but that is because I enjoy the company and togetherness that goes with eating a family meal.
Richard Monnickendam, Ne Lincs

I am having an Aussie Xmas in London...turning the heat up very high in my flat (in a vain attempt to remember the weather back home) and eating wonderful fresh seafood.. yummo!
Emma, UK

Father Christmas walks down the road, distributing presents to the kids (and sometimes the adults)
Sam Jenkin, London, United Kingdom
My parents live in South Africa where it is normally stiflingly hot on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, neighbours drop presents at my parents' house for their kids and normally come in for a quick drink. On Christmas morning, a neighbour gets up at 5am to fetch Father Christmas from the airport and arrives with him (in full red regalia) at 6am. By this time, everyone is out in the street, waiting for Santa's bell to ring, which it does, at 6am sharp, accompanied by a "ho, ho, ho" as Father Christmas walks down the road, distributing presents to the kids (and sometimes the adults). It is a tradition which has continued for over 25 years and everyone gets a great deal out of it.

By 6.20am it is all over, neighbours have wished each other well, kisses and hugs have been exchanged and Father Christmas has collected a bottle or two of whisky as well as good cheer from everyone in the road. At 7am, my father arrives home "from work" and we start our Christmas Day. To my Dad and Uncle Mike who have kept this tradition going for so long, to the various "elves", "fairies" and drivers who have contributed over the years, I would just like to say "thank you". It makes our Christmas, every time.
Sam Jenkin, London, United Kingdom

When our children were small, they used to bring their "Santa" pillowcases into our bedroom and sit in bed with my wife and I and open their presents. This they still do even though the youngest is now 20 and the oldest has moved away into her own house. Since they were about 14/15, Santa sacks have also been appearing mysteriously at the foot of the bed for my wife and I. We all open the presents together.
Cliff Betton, Frimley Surrey

Christmas is about being with the ones you love, the giving and receiving of gifts, I prefer to receive. Those that believe let them believe, those that don't drink, eat and be merry. Enjoy and forget the politics. Life is too short it's not a dress rehearsal. Merry Christmas one and all.
Colin, Hampshire

Christmas is very traditional in my family. Tonight, Christmas Eve, I am going home to the heart of North Yorkshire to put up the Christmas Tree with my siblings, decorate the house with greenery and attend midnight mass in the local village. On Christmas Day we open Christmas stockings, attend York Minster Christmas Day morning service, return home for a large late lunch of goose, spicy red cabbage and celeriac, then go for a long walk over the fields. In the evening we sit in front of the roaring fire opening presents and singing carols. This year we have an extra guest - an American student my Mother met in York post office!
Imogen Bromley, Leeds, UK

I bet Jesus didn't have to eat sprouts on his birthday
Dave, Doncaster, UK
Sprouts are vile. I bet Jesus didn't have to eat sprouts on his birthday. Oh, and to all the people who are moaning about how commercialised Christmas is - BEWARE! You will be visited by three ghosts......!
Dave, Doncaster, UK

I am Wiccan (essentially a "pagan white witch") and therefore I do not celebrate Christmas as a religious festival. I do, however, celebrate the season of Yule which begins a few days earlier. At Christmas time I share in my family's activities and enjoy a meal with them, respecting their faith as they respect mine. I wish all faiths around the world had this same respect for each other, especially at this time of year.
Andy C, Lancaster, UK

Back in the Philippines where I come from, we start celebrating Christmas on the 15th of December by midnight masses which is actually at 4am, then on the last day which is Christmas it is a high mass at 12 midnight, this will last at least one and a half hours. In the morning we go around visiting our god parents, who will in turn give us gifts and sweets. It is a time to visit our relatives and have a lavish feast that lasts till the night time.
A.Kephalas, Reading, Berks

We will be celebrating the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We will be in Church for a carol service on Christmas Eve and then again later for the midnight service. These are special services to all Christians. We will have our normal Christmas dinner and then watch the Queen's speech. Unfortunately, the TV channels seem crammed with boring soap operas so we will have to resort to amusing ourselves - what a hardship! Unfortunately, some people will have to work to keep essential services going, we do appreciate that. However, we will be thinking especially for all members of the armed forces who are currently serving overseas on land, at sea or in the air. A very Happy Christmas to all readers.
Richard, England

I get up on Christmas morning and cherish the fact that in Britain I can celebrate the birth of my God and Saviour freely as an ex Muslim.
Fay Sharman, London, England

Putting aside the obvious commercial aspects and the efforts of many in the US to eliminate any connection between Christmas and Christ, the season has actually become one of giving. I don't mean exchange of gifts, although that is a part of it, but of cheerful giving to the poor and needy and to organizations who try to help them year round. To me it is a time for family. To be with children and grandchildren. I let my wife shop till she drops because I hate malls and the commercial aspects, but I love the decorations and the delight of cute but greedy children ripping the paper off a dozen boxes. Merry CHRISTmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year to all.
Bill, Hillsboro, MO USA

I had these traditions as a child, loved it and am now passing it on
Glenn W, Frankfurt/Germany
Being a Brit living in Germany we follow both the German and English traditions. On 24th Dec. we have smoked sausage with potato salad and a gift or two. On the 25th we carry on our family tradition and that is to wake up to a stocking (adults as well). Then the kids get their "Main" present after breakfast and the rest of the presents are left till about 4pm when we are all fed and merry. I love this way of making Christmas Day last longer. I had these traditions as a child, loved it and am now passing it on to the third generation! Merry Christmas to all.
Glenn W, Frankfurt/Germany

"Christmas" - The word brings joy and happiness to all the people in this world. This day of the year helps us to forget our anger and sorrows. Let's celebrate this Christmas with everyone whether they are rich or poor or of different religion. God Loves all and wants to celebrate his birthday with everybody in this world.
Santanu, Chennai, India

My family emigrated to the US from Iran when I was six. For various reasons, I have had more trouble feeling at ease in either American or Iranian American culture than most young Iranian Americans. But just as Noruz (our New Year, marking the beginning of spring) has always had special meaning to me because it is the day that I feel closest to Iranian culture, Christmas is the day that I feel the most American. My family decorates a tree and exchanges presents and cooks delicious food. In these uncertain times, when there seems to be so much mistrust directed towards Muslims/Middle Easterners, I often feel like a foreigner in the country that I grew up in. Christmas rituals and a sense of peace are thus amazingly comforting, reminding me that I too am a part of American society. I will always celebrate Christmas, regardless of where I live in the future.
Sina Yousefi, Sacramento, California, USA

The sky is blue, the sea is a deeper blue, the frangipani and jacaranda trees are in bloom along with the brightly coloured flowers. The kookaburras are keeping the other birds at bay, the koala is sitting at the top of the gum tree in the garden teasing the dog. The family are all gathered on the veranda, eating traditional Christmas fare complimented by a huge seafood platter of prawns, oysters, smoked salmon, crayfish etc. Why wouldn't Christmas in Australia catch on?
Diane, Adelaide

I am a Christian and we celebrate Christmas with family rituals such as Christmas Eve Church Service, riding through neighbourhoods to enjoy the festive decorations, Christmas trees, gifts, family get-togethers, sharing meals, donating toys, food and clothing to families in need, and remembering that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day!
Brenda Bordenski, Maryland, USA

Christmas has always been a time of special food and drink, and of gift giving, to celebrate the festive season, along with visits to and from friends. I think it is even more important in this time of increased conflict between distinct traditions, to remember the origins and importance of Christmas within the western tradition. We, of that tradition, ought to celebrate it with renewed emphasis, in contrast and distinction to those who would have us end our cultural practices.
Robert Morpheal, Canada

I am a British born Muslim. I do not celebrate Christmas but we always have a roast dinner on Christmas Day with tandoori chicken and roast potatoes. I like the Christmas holidays even though I do not do much during them except for college work etc. Christmas gives everyone a chance for a break from work. Some people abuse the privilege though and just use it as a holiday to shop and get drunk. I think Christmas is losing its true meaning.
A. Hussain, Manchester/UK

I do not celebrate Christmas....because, I'm not a Christian. but it's awful to live in a world where everybody assumes you celebrate Christmas, which to me is a time not of giving and sharing...but a time of wasteful over-consumption without regard to the health of the planet or the real needy,...homeless people and creatures. Happy Solstice! and peace Steve Moore
Steve Moore, Green Camp, Ohio USA

Why does it have to have a meaning?
Vince, Scotland
We have a traditional family Christmas with absolutely no religion and no TV - presents, good food, family get together and a good laugh - why does it have to have a meaning?
Vince, Scotland

Since becoming a practicing Pagan I've been unsure what I should do about Christmas - it's such a fundamental part of British culture that it's hard to turn your back on it totally. But with the amount of other religions also having major festivals at this time of year, I think my approach works - I do the witchy thing on Yule, and that's my religious bit, and then on the 25th I join in with the general spirit of goodwill, family, and caring that the majority of people (regardless of beliefs) seem to feel. I also make a special effort to find special Yule cards for people who matter - not as hard as you might think!
Kate, Oxford, UK

It is a little known fact that what we call Christmas actually originated in Lapland and was a celebration of the red and white amanita mushroom that grows under fur trees there. Men would gather them in large sacks (hence Santa) and hang them on strings in front of the fire to dry. Then the community would eat them and become intoxicated and sing and dance. They would even feed them to the reindeer, which is where the flying reindeer story comes from! So, for my part I will be celebrating the festive season in the original ancient tradition.
Lawrence, London

Usually cater for the hordes of family members that you never see from one year to the next. But this year the drawbridge is raised and I am celebrating a quiet time just me, my wife and kids no hassle, no stress, no fighting, yeah right!? Well merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Will, Darwen, Lancs

Xmas is an important time of year, when we should all celebrate the birth of X. This is an Xian country, and we mustn't forget it! OK, so I'm kidding. This Christmas, let's live and let live, rather than whinging. Have a good break, everyone!
AleX, London, UK

I try and bring back decorations from places I visit, or that family have visited
Andrea McCulloch, Newton Aycliffe, North-East England
What makes Christmas special to me is my Christmas tree, or more specifically, the decorations upon it. I try and bring back decorations from places I visit, or that family have visited. This is sometimes a little tricky when I holiday at the height of summer, but his year I added four golden bells that were table decorations at a wedding I attended in the US.

One year my daughter gave me three carved olive wood decorations from a visit to Bethlehem, and at the last count there were decorations from nine different countries on my tree. As well as the holiday souvenirs, each year I try and make something to put on the tree. Every branch bears a harvest of memories, and every year the tree is a little more crowded than the last. I love it!
Andrea McCulloch, Newton Aycliffe, North-East England

Christmas is a Christian festival. I try to be a Christian. I have no objection to others of any faith or none celebrating the festival of light at the same time. Yes we are a multicultural society, so can we Christians please be afforded the same respect and rights to our faith as all the other faiths in this country? It seems at the moment that Christians and Muslims are becoming targets for varying reasons. I would rather spend my Christmas with a faithful Muslim or Jew than someone who worshipped at a regional shopping centre every Sunday!

I was born in Malaysia and now living in London. As a young Christian in Malaysia, celebrating Christmas in a Muslim country has a richer meaning as it constantly reminded me that my faith did not come cheap. I found that the true meaning of Christmas is lost in London/UK, a so-called 'Christian Country' where Christianity is being discriminated against. What an irony!
Ernest Wong, London

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for families to get together but more importantly to celebrate the birth of Christ in a fun way! For non-Christians I can only say just you don't have to take part but the meaning of Christmas is also a chance to reconcile and to make other people happy and an opportunity to not be selfish.
Charles, UK

I personally hate this time of year, being single for all my life and being an only child I feel I am constantly reminded of how lonely life can be. But to all those who have someone, treat them well, you probably don't realise what you have. Oh and by the way, as to religion, throughout history billions of lives have been destroyed simply because their religious belief differed from someone else (look at Israel-Palestine, India-Pakistan, Muslim-Christian, Protestant-catholic, Christian-Pagan......need i go on?)
Stephen, Wales

It's all sentimental claptrap dominated (in the main) by mothers who insist to the point of hysteria of forcing together families who barely get on during the course of the year. Who is surprised that the divorce, suicide and homicide rates rocket after this time of "fun"? I'm happy to ignore it, and yet still find time for family and friends.
Alan Brown, Selby, England

Pressies, drink, time off work. Take religion and the Queen's speech out of it and it would be perfect...
Carole Mooney, Ashton-under-Lyne England

Rows, stress and misery. I can't wait to go back to work.
Iain, UK

My partner normally celebrates by playing The Muppets Christmas Carol video on Christmas morning. I celebrate it by taking the dog for a nice long walk away from the TV!
Kathy, Wales

I don't. I celebrate the birth of Christ everyday.
Jon, USA

We will be 11 people in pyjamas on Christmas morning, trying to share six chairs around the kitchen table for breakfast
Lia, Greece
In my family we have a midnight supper with all loved ones on Christmas Eve, and we open presents in the morning, following my mother's French habits. Add traditional Greek pastries to the otherwise French dinner and you have it! This year people invited for dinner will sleep over and we will all have breakfast together and exchange lots of little presents. So we will be 11 people in pyjamas on Christmas morning, trying to share six chairs around the kitchen table for breakfast - laughs guaranteed.

Although we kids are grown now, some married, we have managed to keep Christmas about family, extending it to in-laws, in what seems to become a real family tradition. Sharing time, cooking, eating, sleeping, and presents for two days is a great way to start the Christmas holidays, even if we totally split afterwards.
Lia, Greece

I loathe Christmas. It's a period when people go outside and throw their money at shops buying stuff for people that they don't even really want. Jesus was not even born on this day - it is just a plagiarised pagan Sabbath because the early Christians suffered from a complete lack of interest. Next year I am saving up to go to LIBYA or IRAN where I hear "Christmas" is banned. Bah Humbug to the lot of ya.
James Frankcom, London, England

Most ruefully, the new government of Taiwan abolished our Christmas holiday. However, we go on attending Mass on Christmas Eve and having a feast at our chapel afterwards as we have done for years although we still need to get up early the next morning to go to work as usual. We accept this travail as we Catholics like all Christians across the world realize that our Lord took on a human form to live among us to save us and to set a humble but humane example for us all. We should try to follow in His footsteps. Merry Christmas to everyone.
Peter Chao, Taipei, Taiwan

As a non religious European, Christmas doesn't have much meaning for me. There used to be a family gathering on the 24th, but young people prefer to go out dancing, have a date at the restaurant or watch a film. I only feel it's Xmas because of the decorations.
Julian, Belgium

Christmas here means singing about sleigh bells and roasting chestnuts while it is over 30 degrees outside and the cicadas are buzzing
Nick Forbes, Canberra

I was born in London but moved to Australia when I was a child. Christmas here means singing about sleigh bells and roasting chestnuts while it is over 30 degrees outside and the cicadas are buzzing. We still roast a turkey and eat Christmas pudding because without any traditions it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Come to think of it Christmas in summer doesn't feel like Christmas full stop. It will never catch on!
Nick Forbes, Canberra, Australia

As a Jew living in Israel we don't celebrate Christmas. It is just an ordinary working day here, which people are often surprised to hear. This year the week-long holiday of Chanukah happens to coincide with Christmas though, so we will be celebrating that by lighting candles in a special candlestick holder and eating jammy doughnuts!
Linda, Israel

I'll be going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, then celebrating Christmas Day with the family. Nothing special, just a peaceful Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!
Rob Bennett, Nantwich, Cheshire

I was born in England but moved to France when I was very young. We return home each year. We usually stay in Llandudno, North Wales. On Christmas Day we attend the morning Church service before our dinner in the late afternoon. Many members of the family come, some who we do not see for the integrity of the year. We then watch the Queen's speech on the television.
Jonathan Calvert, Evecquemont, France

A strange and great feeling seems to engulf everyone I know during Christmas
Arthur, USA
A strange and great feeling seems to engulf everyone I know during Christmas. Family, Relatives, and Friends come together around my dinner table and enjoy life. The Holy Spirit truly touches everyone's soul during this time and it is evident through the laughter and smiles we all share! Merry Christmas to all and PEACE to the world! We must learn to love one another!
Arthur, USA

I celebrate Christmas by avoiding it as far as humanly possible! Why? Because the true message of Christmas has been lost amid the deafening cacophony of ringing cash registers.
Max, UK

Being an Orthodox Christian I celebrate Christmas on Jan.7th by the old calendar with my church and my family. This pagan commercialized Dec. 25th thing I ignore as it loses its meaning more and more by invoking godless political correctness. Peace.
Dave Medich, Canada

Xmas is definitely a joyful break. But it brings to me a lot of stress and hassles. Among so many other things, right now, I'm extremely stressed about what to do with the cats as me and my wife will be going away to in-laws. This headache has been with me throughout today. I only hope that our next day neighbour will be in tonight so that I could ask her to look after my cats.
Tagyal, London, UK

For Spanish people is time to meet around a table, all the family dinner together. Is time for Spanish loteria. Is time to fest, for a good food and for fun family and friends.
Alfredo, Zaragoza, Spain

My parents have always made efforts at celebrating my Korean culture
Tracey Thomas, Texas, USA
I was born in South Korea and adopted there when I was 10 months by an American couple who are not Korean or Asian themselves. My parents have always made efforts at celebrating my Korean culture and origins and at Christmas my mother cooks a traditional Korean meal on Christmas day which we eat after we open our gifts. My father cooks pulgoki at the table on a little cooker and we eat from traditional Korean bowls my parents purchased when they were stationed in Seoul.
Tracey Thomas, Texas, USA

I just wish the people who are flying over my roof to celebrate Christmas somewhere else would stay at home and give me a bit of peace.
Phil, UK

Christmas wouldn't be the same without the 1951 version of Scrooge, a Christmas Carol with Alaster Simm. It has to be the original Black and White version, the colour one that is broadcast is just not the same. My sister even when out and bought me the video to stop my complaining. It's part of what makes me remember all those good Christmases' when I was a boy waiting for Father Christmas to show up. Now I've added another programme to the list, "A child's Christmas in Wales", to which my daughter always asks "was that they way Christmases' were like when you were a boy in Wales Dad?" Thing like these are what makes family traditions and fond memories.
JF, Canada

To JF, Canada: We always watch that film at Christmas too! I agree that it does have to be that eerie black and white version. The weekend before Christmas me and my brothers go to my grandparents and we all watch the film whilst eating sandwiches and mince pies, washed down with a nice cup of tea. It is now a family tradition and has become known as 'Scrooge Tea'.
Helen, Exeter, UK

I and billions of others don't! But its time for a break and the year is almost over. The rest is for the shops! Religion does not come into it. But hey, any excuse that causes folks stop being nasty to each other for a few days a year, is good.
Siamak Mirnezami, Windsor, England

Christmas must surely be a time for spiritual reflection. In these times, we forget that our lives become more meaningful when we put Faith before material possession, frivolity and pleasures. It is right to remember the life and birth of Christ and we need to collect our thoughts in this respect on Christmas Day.
Dr. Paresh L Gadhavi, London

With the celebration of the Trihesperon of Hercules, which begins with winter solstice and lasts three days. The last day (25) is devoted to Apollo and to the rebirth of Dionysus. Unfortunately with the fascist orthodox regime in modern Greece, most celebrations take place in private places and the archaeology service still refuses to let Hellenes celebrate in their proper sacred temple sites.
Hekate P, Athens, Hellas

It is the season of hope
Patrick, Philadelphia, USA
For some reason I become a little more sympathetic to my Catholic upbringing at this time of year. To think that God did love the earth enough to send down his only son is a comforting and a moving idea. Whether you believe it literally or not - it is the season of hope. Merry Christmas and to all peoples of the earth - peace!
Patrick, Philadelphia, USA

One thing we always do is avoid the Queen's speech. No disrespect is intended by this, we are merely ambivalent to royalty. Other than that we eat, drink, open presents, walk the dogs on the beach and pretty much do nothing religious. But to all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists and Pagans, have a happy Christmas
Chris Hollett, UK

Xmas is a mid-winter festival of merriment, cheer and good will. It is the time to get drunk, sing and dance with friends and flirt with members of the opposite sex. Naturally us pagans have no objection to the Christians, or anyone else for that matter, celebrating this ancient festival in their own way. Live and let live and a merry Xmas to all.
David R, Plymouth UK

By saying a prayer for Prophet 'Isa (Jesus) peace be upon him and for my friends, Muslims and Non-Muslims and above all for peace!
Mullah Hafeezud Din, UK/Birmingham

I'm one of God's Children, I give thanks to Jesus ,for my sins. I try to give at Christmas, and all year. I enjoy Christmas being we love ones and sharing gifts, food. Merry Christmas to all.
Satterstrom, USA

Christmas is one of the very few occasions when we get the entire family together
Maxine, Peterborough, UK
Truthfully, I don't get involved in the religious meaning of Christmas, but would never dream of "dissing" people who do. Christmas is one of the very few occasions when we get the entire family together, be it Christmas, or Boxing Day. I am going on holiday the day after Boxing Day so it may be that there will be a little more meaning for me this year as I won't be with the family until the middle of January. Having said that, looking forward to having New Year abroad with the man that I love!
Maxine, Peterborough, UK

Christmas, though a religious festival for the Christians, is celebrated in India by people of other religious faiths too. One can see festoons and electrically lighted 'stars' decorating the doors of many homes in town and country, irrespective of religious affiliations. The spirit of Christmas makes one realize that Jesus and his message of selfless love is relevant to the whole world for all times.

For me Christmas is a time of prayer, joy, celebration, get-together with wife and children and other family members and also a time to remember childhood, parents, friends and relatives. I go to attend the Midnight Mass at the local church with my children. May the message of Christmas "Glory to God in the highest and Peace and Goodwill on Earth" prevail forever.
Cochin, India

I am a Muslim, and I celebrate Christmas with my Christian friends. We go to the old Churches in Damascus, one of them is Hananiya Church, where Saint Paul became Christian. After praying for peace we go to have a nice dinner in the an area which is one of the oldest inhabited areas in history, here in Damascus. Merry Christmas to everyone!
Mohammed, Syria

Have been living here for the last four years in Eritrea (East Africa), a fascinating nation, despite chaos and problems, is worthwhile to mention. It is observed that Christmas or The Eid are not belonging to only one particularly religion. Here the Eid without christens is not the Eid and the Christmas without Muslims is not the Christmas.

This joy of communal harmony is the message to spread around world that will flourish the peace globally and eradicate the hatred and enmity, which no religion permits. This Christmas wish is simply a prayer for the peace and prosperity. I wish a marry Christmas to all the christen brothers and friends and other concerns.
Dr. M. Ashaq Raza, Asmara, Eritrea

In my house it's a time when the family get together to celebrate the coming of Jesus. It's also a time for the family members to get in touch and have long interesting conversations. In the meantime, some of us go to church to watch mass, and go back home just afterwards to have a simple, but festive supper and prayers to thank God for bringing life and light to all of us.
Raimundo L Santos , Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The smiles are wider and sincere
Munir Mitha, Toronto

Even as a Muslim, I cannot help, but be moved with the spirit of good cheer. The smiles are wider and sincere. The nods are vigorous and heartfelt. Our family celebrates Christmas by greeting our Christian friends, and exchanging the occasional gift. We feel Jesus' message as our Prophet of kindness, forgiveness and love. We also wish that it lasts for 365 days.
Munir Mitha, Toronto, Canada

Time to drink and be merry and flirt with the beautiful women. Russell, Covington, USA

We shut the doors, locked, and stay in bed and have a nice quiet delightful Christmas, just the two of us and that is our present to each other. Paradise!
M and R Hill, Christchurch, UK

Go to church Christmas eve to help centre in what the reason is for the gifts and celebration. Open presents Christmas morning around the tree. Extended family and relatives over Christmas eve for dinner and more gifts.
Bob, Idaho, USA

The children's service and nativity play is at 3pm on Christmas Eve - the day Christmas begins in Norway. Evening prayer and Christmas dinner following this, from 5.00pm. At 11.30 p.m. in church we shall have carols in many languages - Polish, Tagalog, Swahili, French, English , German.... before Midnight Mass in Norwegian /Latin. Now Christmas has truly begun, to be continued with the Dawn Mass and, later, at 11.00 on Christmas Day with the High Mass. On this day we shall have an afternoon to sledge or ski, if the cold weather holds up and we're dreaming of a white Christmas, that's for sure, up here in the Arctic!
Anna Mary House, Bodo, Norway

Here in the United States, there are radio stations that started playing all-Christmas music 24 hours a day before Thanksgiving. Talk about totally rushing the season! And this music will stop at midnight on Christmas. Unfortunately, when you finally have time to relax and enjoy the holiday, the commercial interests declare it over. But I refuse to let these commercial interests hijack this holiday and its real meaning. Christmas begins on December 25th and extends through the January 6 - the Feast of the Epiphany - our Christmas tree will not come down before then!
Martin, Chicago, USA

Christmas is the middle of summer in Australia, so carols by candlelight in a park near the beach under the gorgeous southern stars. Donate money to a charity, visit family on Christmas Day. Try to avoid family quarrels. Eat 'cool' foods - fish, tropical fruit, salads, mango ice cream. Then go bush for the summer holidays and back to work/school end of January.
Rosemary, Australia

Limit your presents to 10, don't keep up with the Jones', give a present to your favourite charity, and above all enjoy yourself
R Scott-Watson, UK
Christmas is a Christian festival, albeit at the wrong time of year! We should celebrate the message of Christmas and avoid the pagan commercialism. Limit your presents to 10, don't keep up with the Jones', give a present to your favourite charity, and above all enjoy yourself and help those around you to do the same.
R Scott-Watson, UK

For years, Christmas was a hectic time of shopping, family gatherings and stress. In 1999, I accepted the Lord as my Saviour alone in my living room. I hadn't been to a church in 30 years. That first Christmas as a Believer was the best. I felt alive and had such peace and joy. The Christmas carols and hymns were just beautiful. They had real meaning and I began to understand what the words meant after all these years. I still marvel at my Saviour's love and grace and I can understand others when they say I don't believe in religion because I too was in that place for many years.
Penny, USA

The vast majority of Britons do not practice any sort of religion so lets stop pondering the 'real' meaning of Christmas and just enjoy the festive season for what it is - a good excuse to meet up with friends and family and have a bit of harmless fun.
Martin Dillon, Kingston Upon Thames

10:00 - Christmas breakfast with Bloody Marys, a little hair from the dog that bit me at the party the night before.
11:30 to 5 - Lounge around drinking hard cider wassail while watching movies. Hangover subsides.
5 to 6 - Cocktail hour. Have a few G&Ts and suffer awkward conversation with weird second cousins.
6 to 8 - Wash down dry turkey with even drier white wine. Make drunken pass at brother's hot girlfriend. Drink more after being rebuffed.
8 o'clock on - Drink egg nog until passing out face down in pile of discarded wrapping paper.
Ah! The delights of the season!
Ben, New York, New York USA

My first festive season with my in-laws in Korea will be an amazing one. We are doing our best to have a 'traditional' Christmas with the decorations/food (xmas cake is SO hard to find in Seoul!) and thinking of others on xmas day. The internet and web cams will be bringing our families together for the first ever Korea<->UK xmas!
Alan Knipmeyer, Seoul, Korea

At home, my family all enjoy the Christmas spirit, and we have a dinner party
JM, UK - London
I am not a Christian; however Christmas is one of the best times of year for me! At school I always exchange gifts with my friends, and we have school parties and often play games. At home, my family all enjoy the Christmas spirit, and we have a dinner party. Despite not being Christian, Christmas is an amazing time of year for anyone, and the magic lives on for the year to come
JM, UK - London

I cannot work out whether those of different faiths/national origins are lucky or lose out... On the one hand they may get to celebrate two New Years and religious festivities such as Diwali or Ramadan, along with the associated New Year, the Chinese for example have a New Year during the middle of my year, or the Ethiopians who have their Christmas and New Year in January... Are they lucky they get two chances at the celebrations, or do they lose out because of work and holiday allowances? Hmm... it's all a bit of a mess (but all good fun)!
Gareth Crawshaw, Olney, UK

Thankfully Christmas has returned to its roots - a mid-Winter festival giving everyone a time to remember others, make an effort to get/keep in touch and hopefully have some fun. We now have very simple food, so we don't have to spend half the day cooking and cleaning, informally served, and basically spend the day snacking, drinking and playing games - thoroughly enjoyable and not a hint of pseudo guilt from religious corners. Let them have their celebration at the correct time of year and leave our older celebration alone.
Graeme, England

I spend it with family, this year at my mother's in Wales, alternating with my sister's place in Ipswich. As far as religion goes, I'm singing in a concert for Chanukah tomorrow, I'll be going to midnight Mass on the 24th and probably joining my aunt at the Church in Wales service on Christmas morning. We have small 'stocking' presents in bed on Christmas morning, the larger ones have, since I was a child, traditionally been left until after church and after midday meal. We will play games. If people are up to it we'll sing some carols (we always sing the 'grace' for food at Christmas).
Chris C, Aylesbury, England

I love Xmas. I spend as much of it buying and wrapping presents for my lovely friends and family, going out to parties or the pub or on the phone with them and generally having a fabulous time surrounded by shiny glitzy things. Excellent fun and done with loads of affection.
Tan, London

Christmas is a time of celebration of the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. If non-Christians wish to rejoice and celebrate with us, let them. The entire world should celebrate his birth. His life and teachings changed our world forever. At our house we truly do celebrate this occasion but not in a raucous manner but in a quiet, dignified and joyous way. We attend church, have a lovely meal and then we read from the bible before we open gifts, remembering that Jesus was God's gift to the world.
Hannah, UK

We all have different spiritual views on the holiday so for us it is more of a celebration of family
Eithne Taaffe, USA
Our Christmas is pretty traditional, opening gifts in the morning, playing games throughout the day and a sumptuous dinner in the evening. We all have different spiritual views on the holiday so for us it is more of a celebration of family. The only thing I will be doing differently this year is in gifts, there will be less of them and many will be handmade I am instead giving most of my money to charity. I think it far more important to give to those in need than throw it away on excessive gifts for those I love.
Eithne Taaffe, USA

Go to church on Christmas morning, give and receive presents (each one no more than 30.00) long drawn out dinner, trivial pursuit, scrabble, board games until its time to go to bed - then spend the rest of the festive season resting, relaxing which is something in short supply when you are holding down a job, caring for elderly parent without little or no support from your employers and/or social services.
Pauline, London

We stopped celebrating overrated, shallow and mass-manufactured Christmas years ago. We will be celebrating the Winter Solstice next Saturday by making a delicious home made meal, a home made Yule log and handcrafting holly decorations. A fantastic time to spend with your loved ones and to welcome longer and brighter days to come!
Mary Jo, London, UK

Spend quality time with family, go to a carol service before Christmas, celebrate as a family and try not to get too caught up in the commercialism but remember the reason.
Joanna, Peterborough UK

I can't even go to the local shop for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread without queuing for ages and listening to canned "seasonal music". I can't even buy cement mixture and an angle grinder from my local DIY shop without being subjected to canned "seasonal music". Presents are all very well and I enjoy giving and receiving gifts but have no sympathy at all for those who go heavily into debt because they "just have to have" that latest consumer item. Usually by the time we get to the end of December I'm sick of having canned music played over and over for nearly two months and am glad it's all finished again.
John B, UK

My nephew's school hosted a nativity play yesterday that had no mentions of Jesus, God or religion. I was amazed!
Martin Hoscik, London, UK

Being Pagan I celebrate the Winter Solstice on the 21st December, but my husband is Catholic and my son (aged 8) will come to his own decision on religion/belief as he gets older. We bring in holly, cones, etc gathered in on the eve of the solstice along with a Yule log which I burn on the 21st. We give gifts, but don't open them all on one day, we spread them over from the 21st until the 26th. We also only eat one large meal on the 24th, all other meals tend to be very light.

I suppose being a multi faith family we actually celebrate the season, although one thing that does annoy me is the fact that all Seasonal Greetings cards say 'Merry Christmas'. Let's do away with this and have 'Seasons Greetings' instead - truly a multi faith culture.
Pauline Yates, Suffolk

Christmas Eve services the night before are a must
Sherry Beth, USA
Christmas Eve services the night before are a must. We get up when the kids get up on Christmas morning, usually at the crack of dawn. We get dressed, go downstairs and put on Christmas (religious) music. I make Monkey Bread and coffee. Then we all open presents, eat and have a great time all morning long. At around noon, we start working on the dinner meal, which we eat at about 4pm. Then we watch a Christmas movie together.
Sherry Beth, USA

I have a problem with those who call for the de-faithing of Christmas, like Pauline who wants Christmas cards to say 'season's greetings'. While I respect her view, surely she can find cards to suit her belief, rather than a call for those that say Happy Christmas to be ruled out? I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing to send family and friends a message of faith on Christmas.
Graham, Edinburgh, UK

To Graham, Edinburgh, UK: You are absolutely not alone in your belief. Christmas IS a religious holiday. If others wish to celebrate Winter Solstice or whatever else during the winter months, let them. However, that doesn't give them the right to do away with all Christian symbols of Christmas. Christmas is a CHRISTIAN holiday. Surely a "multi-faith" culture has room for the Christian faith too.
Danielle, UK

Danielle mentions that Christmas is a Christian holiday and implies that all others who are celebrating the season are somehow distorting Christmas. Christmas is the Winter Solstice, albeit slightly altered to suit the Christian Church. The Winter Solstice is a religious festival which holds deep spiritual meaning to Pagans like myself. That so many religions hold this time of year sacred is no coincidence. Yes, it is a multi-faith holiday. But please don't say that celebrating the Winter Solstice has no religious meaning. It is the original religious meaning of this season!
Corine Judkins, Dolgellau, Gwynedd

I don't follow any particular religion but find it absolutely staggering that, apparently in the interests of inclusion and diversity, it is acceptable to say "Seasons Greetings" but not "Happy Christmas". Nobody is forcing anyone to respect any religion, so why should one particular group be victimised because of how they choose to celebrate it?
Jon, England

Like Western countries, Christmas is much commercialised here in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). People of all races and religions are affected by the celebrations. To the believing Christian, however, it is more than just an excuse to have a party. In more Westernised Colombo and other big cities, celebrations are similar to Western countries; Christmas trees and (fake) snow, church services, gifts, cards, Santa, etc. In rural and more non-Christian areas, it is more of a commercial event joined up with the New Year celebrations. "Merry Christmas" is translated "Suba nath-thalak" in Sinhala, the language of the majority population.
Lanka Puthra, Colombo, Ceylon

My family does all the gift sharing and so on, but that is not the primary factor for celebrating Christmas
Martina, London, UK
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus who came into this world to redeem us from our sins and give us eternal life. Though it's time for families to get together, that sentiment should not be lost. My family does all the gifts sharing and so on, but that is not the primary factor for celebrating Christmas. This also sends a message to our little ones in the family that they should not be bogged down with buying gifts and should concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas.
Martina, London, UK

The only ritual in our household is that no one gets up before 7am - except for putting the turkey in - and the three of us, my husband, son and I have to be washed, dressed and breakfasted before we can open the presents.
Liz, Leeds

Not being Christian or religious I still find it embarrassing that the birth of Jesus has been hijacked for commercial festivities. I try to avoid Xmas, it is stressful and does not achieve anything.
anon, UK

Go to Church, have a nice few days, try to remember that there's always 12 days of Christmas. Don't get commercialised, send Religious and charity cards. Enjoy ourselves within our budget. Be totally politically incorrect - lovely! Might even send Tessa Jowell a Christian religious card just to annoy her.
Sylvia, ENGLAND, Great Britain

We celebrate the winter solstice as people have always done long before the absurdity of supernatural deism and the current greed fest. Merry solstice everyone!
Ray Lee, London UK

According to this year's census 45% of the UK population profess a Christian Faith; that leaves 55% who do not. I get angry when this 55% suggest that us Christians are ruining Christmas for them. It's our festival! You're free to have your own festival if you want an excess to over eat and be sick.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England


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