Alternatives to Christmas

This is part 4 of a 3-part series. Oops! I am feeling like Douglas Adams. Final installment.

Here are 20 ways you can opt out of Christmas and enjoy twelve months a year instead of one!

1. Give gifts whenever you feel like it throughout the year. You’ll probably find more occasions to give gifts, not fewer!

2. Spread good cheer all year long by celebrating milestones – birthdays, weddings, wedding anniversaries, new babies, new homes, new jobs, work anniversaries, promotions, launches, publications, awards and graduations
3. Host a party for your own special day or accomplishment, and treat your friends and family, instead of having them treat you
4. Make someone’s day – show up for a destination wedding, a family reunion, a Legal Age birthday party or a retirement party, when your presence is not expected
5. Celebrate personal victories such as completing a renovation, meeting a celebrity, or the departure of a loathed colleague
6. Celebrate seasonal traditions such as the start and finish of the school year, opening and closing the cabin, planting and harvesting, the first crocus or the first snow

7. Take on planning for a major vacation or project that will keep you motivated for a year or more, like taking a trip to India, or buying and savouring a bottle of Chateau Haut-Brion (which could cost about the same, LOL!)
8. Enjoy annual events, fairs and festivals such as your local sci-fi and comic con, the Fringe Festival, or the kick-off of the symphony’s new season
9. Join a group of revellers, such as the season’s ticket holders of your local hockey league, or become a regular at the off-leash dog park (now there’s a friendly bunch!)
10. Join an organization that works toward and celebrates successes: losing 10 pounds, your 100th geocache, or raising $100,000 to restore an historic building

11. Make a list of your favourite people, past and present, and significant dates connected to them. Make your grandmother’s blueberry grunt recipe on the anniversary of her birthday or have a Dr. Seuss read-aloud on March 2. You probably already know that Isaac Newton’s birthday was December 25!
12. Honour your favourite causes by commemorating World Cancer Day (February 4), Earth Day (April 22), World Cat Day (August 8), the International Day of Nonviolence (October 2) or any other meaningful day for you

13. Enjoy tongue-in-cheek holidays like Pi Day (3/14), Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be with You) or everyone’s favourite, Talk Like a Pirate Day (9/19)
14. Participate in civic events such as voting, petition-signing, protests, ground-breakings and grand openings
15. Use some vacation time to lighten someone’s load – help them pack and move, paint a room, or be with them when they need to put down a pet
16. Give up your time to be fully present when someone has a health crisis or a personal loss
17. Sign up for monthly giving and support your favourite charities all year
18. Dress up for watching the Oscars, going to the theatre, or giving a presentation

19. Save your decorating extremes for Canada Day or Hallowe’en
20. Create your own holidays (next month at our house we will celebrate the 3rd anniversary of my spouse becoming a permanent resident of Canada)

Once you have a full slate of year-round celebrations and commemorations, you’ll always have something to look forward to, and you may find you survive perfectly well without Christmas.

My first new goal for 2013 is to tell you all of the significant dates that are part of my personal calendar, and let you know how I observe, honour and celebrate them!

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