If it’s not your holiday, Christmas can fun — or odd

Pooja Patel | PNN Contributor

When Christmas comes, Ankita Misra feels awkward.

“I don’t know what to celebrate or if it’s even OK for me to celebrate,” she said. For her, Christmas is just another day off.

That is the case for many people. There seems to be two versions of Christmas. One for Hallmark and one for Jesus.

Misra is Hindu. Christmas is not. Yet she still likes to deck the halls and decorate during Christmas time.

That’s OK, said Dr. Sachiyo Shearman, a professor of intercultural communication at ECU. “It’s not a bad thing to celebrate a holiday even if you aren’t a part of it,” she said.

Shearman grew up as a Buddhist, but now considers herself an atheist. She grew up in Japan and her family celebrated a commercialized version of Christmas.

They had a tree and bought presents, but did not adhere to the religious side of the holiday, she said. It was simply an excuse to decorate.

Rafailia Vogiatzis identifies as Greek Orthodox, and she likes the Christmas decorations too. While she does not typically celebrate Christmas, it’s her favorite time of the year. “Greenville looks the best during Christmas,” she said.

For Emily Braverman, feelings about Christmas have changed over the years. When she was younger, she simply ignored it. Now, she is angry.

Braverman said she feels that Christianity is being forced down people’s throats. “Everything from trees on the streets of downtown to the morning coffee from Starbucks is covered in Christmas propaganda,” she said.

On Christmas Day, Braverman said, she stays in and orders Chinese food because that is all that is open.

Patel produced this story for her fall 2017 Media Writing & Reporting class.