Christmas for Religious Nones: Creating a Holiday Full of Connectedness

Holidays, whether religious or otherwise, offer unique opportunities for cultivating Connectedness and thus strengthening our spiritual health. When you’re Christian, there’s a clear path for a spiritually meaningful Christmas because the religious beliefs and practices are assured, whereas the cultural aspects are optional. In contrast, for Religious Nones, everything is optional, and therefore, it's helpful to focus on seasonal practices that will still be spiritually fulfilling. Here's a few ideas:


Option 1: Re-embrace some religious aspects of the holiday

  • The way I see it (although some pastors may disagree), you don’t have to believe in the virgin birth or even believe Jesus was born in December to appreciate his teachings of peace, love, and forgiveness, and thus want to celebrate his birthday! So if this feels right to you, try intentionally including in your Christmas celebrations some songs, décor, and experiences that focus on Jesus’s birth. That said, if this doesn't mesh with your values, don't force it!

Option 2: Cultivate awareness around your actions and make your holiday choices with intentionality

  • Choose activities and mindsets throughout the Christmas season that promote Connectedness (a feeling of connection with something greater) instead of disconnection.
  • Give gifts to family and friends as well as charities, homeless shelters, food banks, etc. When we view these acts as opportunities to connect with others and remember we are part of something bigger (families, communities, the entire human population), we are cultivating Connectedness and spirituality.
  • Practice gratitude and reconnect on a deeper level with friends and family.
  • Connect with your local communities by participating in seasonal events like tree-lighting ceremonies. 
  • Allow nature-inspired traditions and decor to cultivate Connectedness with your environment.
  • Focus on love as a theme to cultivate Connectedness with the transcendent (aka God, a Universal Energy, etc.). Personally, I like Sara Bareilles's song, "Love is Christmas" (embedded above).
  • Continue or start family traditions to create a spiritually-fulfilling experience. For example, while I was growing up, every Christmas my parents, brother, and I each picked out a tree ornament. It's a practice I enjoyed so much that I've continued it with my husband and we plan to continue it with our future children. Sure, an ornament is a material thing, but the family history and anticipation of carrying on the tradition creates a beautiful cross-generational sense of Connectedness.
  • Recognize holidays can be a challenging time for some people. Try to offer understanding and forgiveness to those who are suffering. If you're the one struggling, try to view the challenges as opportunities to focus on Connectedness and use your spiritual recipes. Even challenges can provide opportunities for strengthening our spiritual health.

May your December is filled with more joy than sorrow, more peace than tumult, and ultimately, more Connectedness than disconnection. Whether you celebrate the religious Christmas, the cultural Christmas, or a combination of the two, I wish you and your family peace and blessings this holiday season.