10 Fun & Non-religious Things You Can Do to Celebrate This Winter

Culture

Many people associate winter with Christmas. Christmas is a religious festival for some people, but winter can be equally fun to celebrate for non-religious people. Here are 10 fun and non-religious activities to celebrate this winter!

1. Donate to a worthy cause

Christmas is all about sharing the joy of giving. According to the World Food Bank, there are around 689 million people living in extreme poverty right now. Besides giving gifts to your families and friends, spare a thought for those in need too. Donate to a charity or other causes you think are worth donating too. It would go a long way for the people on the receiving end. This way, you can be your own version of Santa Claus too! Some trustworthy organizations to support this season are:

  • Women’s shelters. Women’s shelters provide safe places for women who are homeless or for women who have to flee family violence.
  • The Wildlife Trusts. The Wildlife Trusts is an organization made up of 46 wildlife conservation charities in the UK. They help to protect endangered species and look after vital habitats.
  • Save The Children. Save The Children is a charity that aims to improve children’s lives by giving them better access to quality education, food, and healthcare. They also provide aid in times of emergencies or natural disasters.
  • Global Citizen. Global Citizen is an international advocacy organization which works to end extreme poverty around the world.

2. Read Christmas books

Besides watching Holiday movies, we can also look to books. One can spend an entire day finishing a book, compared to finishing a movie in a few hours. This is a perfect activity for the Holidays if you do not have any other activities planned. You may be able to find some of these books on Libby or Overdrive, an e-book platform for libraries. The books there are free of charge, and you only need a library card to sign up for their services. Below is a list of some feel-good Christmas books that will definitely be of good company this holiday:

  • Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien: These are stories told by Santa Claus about his experiences while traveling across the world to deliver his presents.
  • The Usual Santas by Peter Lovesey: A collection of holiday-themed crime fiction stories, set in various locations and time periods.
  • Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand: Winter Street is the first of a series of Christmas tales. In Winter Street, a family gathers on Nantucket for a surprise-filled holiday.
  • Starry Night by Debbie Macomber: In Starry Night, Carrie Slayton, a columnist, takes up the challenge of interviewing a reclusive writer, Finn Dalton, in return for covering other more serious topics. When she finally meets Finn, she discovers that he is not the person she expected him to be. Starry Night is a delightful novel about finding happiness in the most surprising places.
  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie: Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s most famous fictional detective, is tasked with investigating the whodunnit behind a family reunion that ended in bloodshed.
  • Christmas In London by Anita Hughes: Manhattan baker Louisa is recruited to join the team of a local production company for their annual Christmas Eve dinner special filmed across the pond at the posh Claridge’s hotel. Along the way, she rekindles friendships again, both old and new.
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver: This holiday novel follows two people, Jack and Laurie, who are reunited after ten years apart.

3. Go on a festive walk or to a theme park

Christmas does not have to be a boring day spent at home. Many cities will have street light-ups. Some suburbs may have long rows of Christmas decorations displayed in front of houses. The glowing lights are beautiful displays of the holiday spirit. Enjoy the winter air as you stroll along. If you are more adventurous, go to a theme park. Some theme parks may have Christmas-themed rides, and their shops may also be decorated for Christmas. Either way, go somewhere that will get you into that holiday spirit!

4. Buy Christmas décor

Get an artificial Christmas tree (if you prefer to have things done tidily) and decorate it with baubles and string lights. Crafty people may opt for DIY decorations. If space is at a premium, get a miniature Christmas tree instead, and display it on your desk or dining room. Christmas is all about lights, so hang those fairy lights along the walls and mantelpiece as well. Even if you are non-religious, you can still hang and fill up your own Christmas stockings. Some places may sell ready-filled stockings, complete with crackers, candy canes, and sometimes games. You can also hang up baubles and other hanging decorations throughout the house. If you are in a country that doesn't have snow, and you have space to spare, consider lining the edges of your floors with white cotton wool to imitate snow.

5. Eat Christmas foods and drink hot chocolate

Many bakeries will stock log cakes on Christmas Day, and who can resist the creamy chocolate and the beautiful icing on the cakes? On the days leading up to Christmas, feel free to binge fruit cakes and Christmas cookies. Most supermarkets will sell Christmas desserts as winter rolls around. To wash it down, have a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up on those cold nights. Even if you live in a tropical country, with the right amount of marshmallow toppings, hot chocolate can be a comfort drink.

6. Celebrate winter solstice

If you are non-religious, why not celebrate winter solstice instead? Many cultures around the world celebrate winter solstice instead of Christmas. The Chinese celebrate Dongzhi, their winter solstice festival. Dongzhi is non-religious, and was originally celebrated with the intention of honoring ancestors and gathering with family to have a meal together. Tangyuan, or glutinous rice balls are often eaten, as are dumplings. Try cooking tangyuan with any of the recipes below:

7. Gather with family and friends

Winter time for many cultures is an opportunity to gather with friends and family, so why not replicate this tradition with your close ones too? It does not have to involve going to places of worship- you can have a simple dinner with them too. Our family and friends are the bedrock of our morale. Take this time to improve your relationships in light of the coming new year.

8. Make holiday cards (graphic designs, zine, or coloring cards)

Anyone would love receiving a card for Christmas. You do not have to celebrate Christmas to brighten someone’s day with a message. There are a few options for making holiday cards: You can buy store-bought cards, write messages on them and mail them. The message does not have to be the usual ‘Merry Christmas’, it can also be other well-wishes like ‘Have a bright year ahead’ or just a simple ‘Hope you are well.’

If you have more time, consider painting or coloring a Christmas card. Painting a simple Christmas tree is easy! Search for tutorials online. If you do not enjoy painting, try coloring cards instead. These are Christmas cards without colors, so that you can color them in once they have been printed out. For more technologically-savvy people, learn graphic design and create a Christmas card on PowerPoint, Desygner, or Canva. In fact, digital card making can even be turned into a simple business.

Find coloring cards here: https://printable-cards.gotfreecards.com/categories/christmas/coloring-cards

9. Knit a scarf

Knitting is a relaxing hobby that more and more people around the world have been taking up. Knitted goods are often associated with cold-weather clothing. If the right quality of material is used, it can create a luxurious feel to the skin when worn. The action of knitting is repetitive. You can knit while reading or watching TV without diverting your attention too much. Knitting needles and yarn are cheap and easy to find online as well. A scarf is the easiest piece of clothing to knit. You can wear your scarf during winter after you have knitted it! This winter, why not look at taking up knitting as a hobby?

10. Build a snowman

Gather some twigs and snow, and build your own snowman! You can do this activity with family and friends. While you are at it, you can even have a few snowball fights. There is a technique for building a snowman that can stand for a longer time. First, the location of the snowman is crucial. Situate him on a flat and shady piece of land, and face him away from the sun to preserve his facial features. Use snow that is moist and powdery. Use a 3-2-1 snowball ratio. The shorter the snowman is, the more stable he will be. Finally, before stacking the next snowball, remember to flatten the previous snowball.

  • Fun fact: Did you know that the residents of Bethel, a town in Maine, built the largest snowperson ever recorded? In the Guinness Record, the snowperson towers at an astonishing 37.21 meters!

Several of these activities work well in tropical countries too. Winter is just around the corner for this year, so use this list wisely to plan your celebrations. Happy Holidays!

Kang Liew Bei
5,000+ pageviews

Liew Bei is a writer from Southeast Asia. She is 16, soon to be in the final year of secondary school. She enjoys reading, writing, and making zines in her free time.