Celebrating Religious Holidays When You Aren’t Religious


religious holidaysThe birth of our first child was exciting and we were looking forward to all the firsts that came along with it. The holiday season was coming up and my husband and I were discussing what we were going to do for our first Christmas with our son. That’s when it hit me: “Are we going to celebrate religious holidays even though we aren’t religious?”

I never really put much thought into celebrating holidays growing up. While my mom was religious, we didn’t  go to church except on holidays. We really didn’t discuss religion. If we asked questions, they answered, but we were really left to see what was out there and to make a choice if we wanted to be religious.

While holidays like Easter and Christmas are derived from religion, I still celebrated with my family even though I wasn’t religious. My celebration of these holidays was deep rooted in beloved family traditions I had experienced since I could remember. 

Now that I had my own child, I could set the tone with religious holidays in my household. In the back of my head I thought it might be hypocritical to celebrate these holidays without religion. How was I going to explain to my kids these holidays and why we celebrated them?

It was easier to make a choice than I thought. I chose family time. I chose traditions. I chose the spirit of the holiday. I chose the celebration regardless of the reason. I chose to share these religious holidays with my children without the religious aspect and it isn’t something I regret. I realized that I shouldn’t worry about how others view how I raise my children.

I hope I can develop a love for celebrating the holidays with my children. I hope they view these holidays as an opportunity for valuable family time just as I had. 

So as we approach the holiday season with anticipation I will be ready to teach my children the glory and generosity of the holiday season and that it can be appreciated and revered regardless of your religious choices.

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I was born in Denver but I have grown up in Arizona almost my whole life. I live in Gilbert with my beautiful son Paul who is 4 and a half, my 18 month old son Finn, my silly pit bull Armani, and my amazing husband Ryan. We have been married 4 years but have known each other since middle school. He truly is my best friend and better half. I went to Arizona State University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. I was an elementary school teacher for 10 years in Mesa Public Schools and currently teach in the Kyrene School District in fourth grade. I love to play dodgeball. Yep, dodgeball. It started out as just a fun recreational league but have started to train and travel tournaments around the country. This is something I truly miss during Covid.


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