What to Do in December when
You Don't Celebrate Christmas

by Mary E. Stephens
Oct. 2015

For those of us who don't observe Christmas, it can sometimes be a little hard to know what to do in December while everyone else (more or less) is consumed with celebrating. We may feel alienated from our family, friends and church to some degree. This isn't always because they don't care or are resentful (though, sadly, that does happen). Sometimes it is simply that they don't think of it, or they don't have time to fit non-celebrators into their holiday schedules. Being resentful or hurt about that won't help. Since we made the choice to not celebrate, it is our responsibility to find other ways to use that time.

Here are some ideas that may help those who are still trying to figure out what to do in December.

Make It A Family Month

If you have a family, or if you have extended family that don't celebrate, you can make December a time to focus on them. Make it a month to spend extra time together. There can be game nights, singing together, crafts or special projects to be done as a group, cooking or baking, playing in the snow, outdoor sports; you might even take a family vacation (choose a destination that won't be drenched in holiday excesses). 

Couples may focus on their marriage. This could be a good time to plan a little get-away where you can be alone and just spend time together. You might also choose a passage of scripture to study through together, or a book to read together. You could plan to do some things that you particularly enjoy doing together.

If you have children, you might spend extra time with each child one-on-one. Talk with each one individually and alone. Listen to them, tell them thing they need to know at this age. Talk about their dreams, their concerns, their fears; and whatever else they want to talk about.

Work On Friendships

Do you have other friends who don't celebrate Christmas? Seek them out. Spend some time visiting, talking online or on the phone - communicating. Even if they are far away, make a point of being in touch that month and edifying one another in love (not gossiping or complaining about people who are celebrating, please).

Encourage others you know who avoid the holiday excesses also, even if they still celebrate in moderation. They may be feeling just as out of things as you do.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Preach the Gospel

 Even though we know that Jesus Christ was not born at this time of year, we may use the time to preach the Gospel. Some people may be more attentive at this time of year, especially if they learn that you don't follow all the traditions of pagan origin. Use the month to reach out to people from other religions that don't celebrate Christmas to give them the Gospel.

Romans 10:15 ...as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! What greater peace and glad tidings is there than to know that Jesus Christ came, not just as a baby in a manger, but to die on the cross and rise from the dead that we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life?

Work On Projects

You might also use December as a time to finish up projects you didn't get done during the year. Maybe you have some projects that you want to do but you usually don't have the time for them. This might be a good month to work them in. 

You might also learn a new skill, take an online course, or put some extra time into Bible study or research. This would be a good time to get a head start on preparations for projects you want to get done next year.  You can even plan next year's garden. The possibilities are unlimited! Well, they may be limited by the weather. Obviously in some places you aren't going to paint the house.

Rest and RE-create

Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Make the month an extra low activity time. Only do what's necessary and try to make that as little as possible.  Take more time to read and do happy little things. Take walks outdoors if possible and get some fresh air. Give your body a chance to regroup as we approach the new year.

My dad had a Christian doctor once who pointed out to him that the word "recreation" is RE-creation. We need to take time to REcreate sometimes. It is good for the mind and the body. This will look different for different people because we tend to have different ideas of what refreshes us. Focus on the things that revitalize and uplift you.

Reach Out to Others

Find ways to be a blessing to people who are troubled, hurting or lonely at this time of year. People who are sick or in poor health and can't do things for themselves may find it harder to get the help they need in some situations. You might be able to help. Volunteer at a shelter, a nursing home, etc. There are many opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others.

For further reading on this subject, you might read this Christmas Challenge No. 6: Seeing with Compassion.


In short, use the month to play, to dream dreams and to build up relationships. Give yourself permission for recreation and rest. Find ways to reach out to the hurting and suffering as Jesus would.  Look for the happy and pleasant things you might do for your loved ones or for others. Encourage and edify others in Christ. Preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.


Graphics by Mary Stephens
updated 2019