Christmas? Er, no thanks, not for us

I'VE been mocked. Accused of child neglect.

"But, don't you even have a Christmas tree?" a shocked colleague quizzed.

"You're a real Mrs Scrooge, you know," another would mutter.

For you see, I don't celebrate Christmas.

While I'll throw in the casual "Merry Christmas" here, or agree to a bit of eggnog there, Santa doesn't visit my household.

But he once did. When my family moved to Australia from Russia we brought our orthodox traditions with us.

Father Frost gave presents on New Year's Eve with "Snow Girl", who wore a mini with knee-high boots, and the birth of Jesus was celebrated on January 6.

This gave us Aussie-Ruskis the advantage of six days straight Vodka drinking and gift shopping at the Boxing Day sales.

When I moved to the Tweed, and was forced to watch cricket, my traditions felt out of place.

Adopting the December 25 celebration was just as unnatural.

So I lost Christmas ... and I like it.

For starters, it's incredibly liberating to walk through the Christmas aisle in the supermarket without buying a thing.

And it turns out I'm not the only one doing things a little differently this festive season.

Paramakoruna and Parvati Fairbairn and their children are part of Tweed shire's Hare Krishna movement. They have mixed their beliefs with Christmas.

"Our family and other Hare Krishna families have a picnic in the park and exchange gifts, sing God's name and sing Hare Krishna all the time.

"We explain to the children that this was the message of Jesus.

"He was saying hallowed be thy name, love thy neighbour and spoke of the Ten Commandments… he was teaching humanity… and because of that we explain that Jesus was one of our holy teachers.

"Christmas is not strictly within the Hare Krishna philosophy but I guess we've adapted Christmas because it is a good vehicle for talking about other people who have given you gifts of the spiritual kind."

As far as presents go the Hare Krishnas don't miss out.

"We try to make small, personal gifts," Mr Fairbrain said.

FIONA and Jon Barnett of Banora Point, and their children Sophie and Kasia celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights during Christmas.

"We don't celebrate Christmas because, like Easter and Halloween, it stems from a pagan cult and has nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

"Jeremiah 10 forbids Christmas trees: 'Learn not the way of the heathe …for one cuts a tree out of the forest…with the axe.

"They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not.'

"The modern-day Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola's marketing department.

"We celebrate the Biblical Feasts instead. Everything Jesus Christ did fell on a Biblical Feast.

"He was born at Tabernacles, died at Passover, rose at First Fruits.

"From 16-24 December we celebrate Hanukah, a Festival of Lights that Jesus celebrated.

"We decorate our home with lights and our kids get a present per day for eight days.

"It's surprising how many people innately reject Christmas as a time of excess, misery and conflict.

"They often envy our decision to ditch Christmas.".

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