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How to deal with Dec. 25 when you don’t celebrate Christmas

AS ANOTHER YEAR winds to a close, many Canadians find themselves gearing up to celebrate Christmas. The streets may be decorated with sparkling lights, but on Dec. 25, they’re deserted. Those who aren’t getting into the festivities might be wondering how to entertain themselves on the day when nearly everything is closed. Never fear, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can have a fantastic day despite the closed stores and lack of available friends.

Go see a movie

Open on practically every major holiday, movie theatres can be counted on to bail you out of your boredom over the holidays. The movies have become a hot destination for those who don’t observe the holiday, but there still won’t be a big crowd there. Relax for a couple of hours by watching the latest blockbuster in a nearly deserted theatre. Just imagine: No lineups to get popcorn and Junior Mints, and no obnoxious groups of preteens to ruin the movie by talking. Why not check out this year’s anticipated December releases, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

Dine at a Chinese restaurant

After the movies, you’ll probably be wondering how to spend the rest of your evening. If you’re in the mood for some great food, why not try a Chinese restaurant? These are usually open on statutory holidays, making Chinese food a delicious and delightful way to pass time. Go with friends who don’t celebrate any holidays in December or bring your family to chow down on some chicken chow mein, fried rice, and spring rolls. Don’t forget to ask for a fortune cookie!

Spend time with the family

Those who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah don’t have the monopoly on family togetherness. Even though you may not sing carols around a tree or light a menorah, the month of December is still great opportunity to get the family together, as many people have scheduled vacation time then. You’re not celebrating a holiday, but simply enjoying the day with family.

Spend the day outdoors

Another way to have a good time on Dec. 25 is by gearing up in gloves, hats, and snow pants and heading outside. The great outdoors are never closed to the public, so take advantage of the deserted open spaces and get active. Go sledding, dust off your snowshoes, skate at an outdoor rink, or make snow angels—do whatever it takes to burn off that Chinese food. Assuming the Rideau Canal has frozen over, you’d be crazy not to enjoy a few hours there—Dec. 25 is probably the only day of winter you’ll have enough space to practice your triple axel. Brave the cold and have some fun.

—Sofia Hashi