Merry Christmas to everyone who will be celebrating it tomorrow! I hope it’s a joyful time for you and your loved ones.
As someone who doesn’t observe this holiday anymore, it’s always interesting to talk about what I do when everything is shut down and see what other people have come up to pass the time on the biggest holiday of the year in western society, too.
Obviously, the answer to this question is going to be different for everyone. People who live in tropical or Mediterranian climates are going to have a far different range of possibilities than those of us who live in chillier, snowier places. If your weather is nice enough for a hike or other outdoor activity, I envy you just a little bit today. That wouldn’t be a very pleasant thing to do here….although obviously not every Canadian is as averse to the cold as we are!
My hope is that this post will give you a few ideas of things to do when just about everything is closed. For readers who celebrate Christmas, I also hope it will give you a glimpse into what your friends and neighbours might be up while you’re celebrating today and tomorrow. There’s something to be said for learning about how other people live, in my opinion.
A typical “Christmas” is quiet for me and my spouse. Businesses and non-essential governmental buildings are closed here in Canada, just like they are in most other western countries. Many stores remain open on Christmas Eve, but they generally have reduced hours on that day and are packed uncomfortably full of people doing last-minute shopping. I avoid that scene as much as humanly possible.
Instead, I make non-traditional foods like chocolate chip cookies and tacos or fajitas, depending on what ingredients we have on hand. This tradition of sorts started when I first moved to Canada, realized my spouse and I would be alone on Christmas, and didn’t really feel like going all out for a holiday I was quickly losing interest in anyway.
We already had the ingredients for Mexican food and cookies on hand that first year, so that’s what we ate. Since then, we’ve done something similar to this when we could. There’s something nice about having a hot, simple meal that doesn’t take a lot of time to make and requires far fewer dishes than the average Christmas dinner. (Did I mention that I wash all of our dishes by hand? I don’t normally mind this chore, but it can be a little tricky to keep on top of them when we’re eating a multi-course meal).
If you love making fancy dinners, by all means make one. This is simply what works best for us.
The dress code is casual and generally involves wearing pants. Well, okay, sometimes it involves wearing pants. So much depends on what stage of the cooking process I’m in and how warm our apartment is. We have such efficient insulation in our building that sometimes it gets a little too warm to wear all of those layers when the oven is on and the sun is shining brightly through our windows.
At some point during the day, we’ll often turn on the latest science fiction or fantasy film that we’ve been meaning to rent or rewatch. There’s something relaxing about seeing Frodo once again attempt to return the One Ring to Mordor while delicious scents waft out of the kitchen. I also enjoy getting to know brand new characters instead if we’re in the mood for something we haven’t already watched.
The rest of the day is spent napping, relaxing, playing games (generally of the computer variety, although occasionally I’ve amused myself with board games and puzzles), or doing other quiet things that don’t require outdoor time. It’s nothing at all like the Christmases of my childhood, but I’ve come to look forward to this time quite a bit all the same.
I have heard of people going out for Chinese food on Christmas, as those restaurants tend to stay open. It’s not something I’ve tried yet myself, but maybe one year I will.
Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, what do you generally do on that day? Regardless of whether you personally observe it, what is this holiday like in your country in general? I know that not everyone who reads this blog comes from a culture where Christmas is well-known or even practiced at all.