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December 19, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Celebrating Christmas a bit differently

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Whether we’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday, we each have our own holiday traditions. Sometimes the difference may be the religious or cultural underpinning, the foods that we eat, or the decorations that adorn our homes.

At my home, we celebrate Christmas. We just do so a bit differently.

The tree is decorated, garlands wrap the banisters, wreaths are in the windows and stockings hang from the mantle. All the signs are there. It looks like Christmas. It smells like Christmas. I come downstairs early, light the fireplace, turn on the Christmas carols and wait for the family to come down to open presents.

This may seem like a typical Christmas morning, but in our household the calendar may read December 14 or maybe December 19th. For the Copelands, it’s Fake Christmas.

Our tradition started a few years ago when my son, AJ, and I went on vacation at Christmas time. Before finalizing the arrangements, I wanted to be sure that he would be okay with this. He was a teenager, not a little kid looking for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, but it was still Christmas.

Well, he loved the idea. All he wanted was for the house to be decorated. No problem, I thought. I could do that. But then an idea hit me. We could still do everything that we traditionally do at Christmas, just earlier than the 25th of December.

So, before we left for our trip, we had our first Fake Christmas. My step-daughter, who usually spends Christmas day with her mom, came for the weekend with her husband and son. Friends who typically spend Christmas with their families came. Our home was overflowing. We ate our way through “Christmas” eve dinner, “Christmas” breakfast and “Christmas” dinner, laughed more joyfully than we had at Christmas in many years and named our new holiday Fake Christmas.

AJ and I loved our holiday that year in South America, but the best part of that trip was the birth of Fake Christmas as our new family tradition.

Whatever you celebrate, whenever and however you celebrate it, I want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. It’s a special time of year for so many reasons.

Happy Holidays.

P.S. – Yes, AJ and I celebrate Christmas on December 25th, too.


  1. Terri Lee Freeman / Dec 19 2013 3:17 pm

    Christian never ceases to give me a laugh. I love the metro standard time joke. I guess that would mean we would still need to have at least three time zones!


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