Non-Catholics: What do you do for_______?


Hello everyone! I’m on what you might call a fact-finding mission, a poll, a survey, whatever.

I homeschool my kids and in the midst of our religion class, the question came up (from the six-year-old) about why Jewish people don’t celebrate Christmas:hmmm:.

Well, after we got that straightened around, my 12-year-old (who attends martial arts classes with kids from different church backgrounds) said some of his friends told him they don’t have to go to church on Christmas (one asked him why HE went and he said it was because it was a holy day of obligation, and the ensuing dialogue could be a whole separate thread…) Then that some of his friends celebrate Halloween, others don’t, etc.

Anyway, the kids became curious as to how other Christians celebrate certain holidays: Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. and family events: birthdays, baptisms, etc. They know other churches have communion, but do those kids have their first one celebrated the way Catholics do? Stuff like that.

Well, I could take to the streets with pen and paper in hand, but I live up in the mountains and my neighbors are few and far between, but I decided that it might be easier to let the non-Catholics on this board answer these questions for us:

  • What do you do to celebrate Christmas? Easter? Do you have Christmas trees, nativity scenes, Easter eggs, etc.?
  • Do you celebrate any other church holidays (or holy days)?
  • What church milestones do you celebrate (baptisms, etc.)?
  • What are your church services like?

Any information you can give will be appreciated! Feel free to give me background on any customs we Catholics may be unfamiliar with and personal anecdotes are welcome!

Thanks in advance!


Lutherans celebrate baptism, first communion and confirmation, Some do not have a separate first communion (Missouri synod I believe) but have their first communion at the time they are confirmed.



Once again, as with Santa, we don’t emphasize the easter bunny as we feel it distracts from the real meaning of the holiday. We of course tell the story of JEsus death and ressurection. Palm Sunday is celebrated in our church. We decorate easter eggs–I grew up understanding there was a fair amount of symbolism with eggs (new life, shape of the stone that rolled in front of the tomb). We do an easter egg hunt, just for the fun of it. We have an awesome service usually on Easter SUnday. Usually we have many people share their testimonies. Sometimes we have baptisms. It is usually the best Sunday of the year in our church:-)
We choose to particpate in trick-or-treating. However, many families in our church do not. We tell our kids they are not allowed to dress up as ghosts, goblins, witches or anything else that is pleasing to the devil. We find many parts of this holiday very disturbing as there is such a celebration of evil on this day. However, so many children are truly just celebrating a day of dressing up and candy and fun. We choose to participate in this way. We carve jack-o-lanterns as well. We have certainly wrestled with this holiday though. We have a fair amount of peace though and just teach our children that we know God is not pleased with the parts of halloween that are celebrating evil.


Oh, I forgot to add a few things about easter. One activity we have enjoyed doing is making these cookies that each step int he process has a scripture reference and then you put them in the oven for the night, tape up the oven and in the morning they are these amazing cookies. Kind of a neat activity. I think they are called “resurrection cookies”??? Not sure.

We also celebrate baptisms. I was personally baptised at age 16 and it was very meaningful for me. I shared my personal testimony with our congregation and then was baptised in someone’s swimming pool! Go figure! It was an incredible experience for me. My mother gave me a little ceramic lamb, signifying that I’m God’s child His lamb, and I treasure that lamb still and have it on display as a reminder.

We also have parent/child dedication ceremonies. Usually this is done around 3-6 months of age. The parents pledge to raise the child in God’s ways and the congregation joins in this pledge to support, pray, teach and help the family. The pastor prays a blessing on the child. These were emotional times for me personally as I felt it was such a time of surrender for myself as a parent. This little one is not MINE, but really God’s gift for me to simply help raise and direct and teach and love. Also the enormous responsibility to teach them in God’s ways really hit home as I stood up front, pledging this in front of our congregation.


We also commemorate the time that our child makes a decision for follow Christ, truly recognizing their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and mercy and how Jesus payed the price for sin by dying on the cross. I still remember sitting with my mom at age 7 and praying with her. My mom marked the date in my Bible. I also remember both my children coming to that point and praying with me, of their own accord. It was an awesome day and is cherished. It may not be prominent in their memory, but it is a starting point of them really taking ownership of their faith and that is just so awesome:-)

Our church service runs something like this:
30 minutes congregational singing, 7 minutes intermission where people can mingle and greet newcomers and fellowship and kids are dismissed to sunday school, a bit more singing and then our pastor preaches a message for about 30 minutes. It is an awesome church family and we truly care for each other and encourage each other in our spiritual walk, seeking to sharpen each other’s faith and be accountable to each other.

Hmmm…I think that is about it for what you were wondering. Hope it helps! And I hope you get some more responses. I wouldn’t mind getting some ideas myself:-) How about you, BlueRose, anything you can share that may deepen our celebration of these times?


Thanks for the answers, so far! I hope to hear from more people!

chutton–thanks for the details! The kids noticed a lot of similarities in the way we celebrate holidays.

Since you asked, here’s something for me to share. Since I’m Hispanic, and live in a predominantly Hispanic area, culture influences a lot of our celebrations. We have posadas during the nine days before Christmas, a Mexican tradition which is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging. Our parish joins with the local Methodist church two nights during this time, one night meeting at the Methodist church and processing to the Catholic church, the next night starting at the Catholic church, singing and asking for shelter at various homes along the way. Each night, a young couple is dressed as Joseph and Mary and Father John usually petitions his parishioners for someone to loan a donkey for the posadas! Then at the destination, of course, they are welcomed and we have a potluck dinner, lots of desserts, singing, and a pinata for the children to break open.

Hope to hear from others soon!


Well my family is mostly protestant and this will actually be my first Catholic christmas, so here’s what we do when we get together.

Easter: Each family dyes eggs the night before, trying to be creative and stuff. Everyone brings their eggs to Grandma and Grandpa’s on Easter and they’re shown off, shelled, and turned into Deviled Eggs. If there are little kids we’ll do Easter egg hunts. We have a ham with all the trimmings for dinner. Everyone goes to their church in the morning and we all meet later in the afternoon.

Christmas: Sort of the same. We do the advent calender, and there are certain foods that have to be made, mostly types of candy. Everyone drew names at Thanksgiving to buy a $50.00 present for one other person. We’ll all open our presents at our parents’ houses and then go to grandparent’s for dinner. Everyone buys everyone else a stocking stuffer (usually something cheap and funny). Of course there are nativity sets in our houses and Jesus doesn’t arrive until Christmas eve after we get home from the Vigil service. Last year I didn’t let the wise men be put out until Epiphany :stuck_out_tongue:


My Entire family is Protestant though we do not all attend the same denomination. I attend a non-denominational church.

Palm Sunday: Our family dosn’t do a lot on Palm Sunday… sometimes we make Easter eggs early. The Church always has palm Branches to hand out for during the service.

Easter: We all attend Church together and then go to someone’s (a relative) house for an Easter egg hunt for the kids. We use the ressurection eggs as well as let the kids color them. We generally write messages on them in white crayon before dying them (Stuff like “Jesus Loves Sami” or “Happy Easter!”) After the hunt we tell the Easter story using the eggs. there is always a big meal and lots of talking amongst ourselves all afternoon. We have made the ressurection cookies before but it’s not an every year tradition. the Church Service is often a Passion play that day and the childrens Sunday School can usually find a Tomb that is empty built for the kids to explore.

Christmas: We do several advent activities every year (A calendar, a wreath , a Jesse tree etc). I decorate like mad and we have a presant tree and a Jessie tree. I tell the kids around me stories about St. Nicholas. Christmas Eve we go to church. the Christmas eve service is Generally Christmas songs, prayer and Candelinghting (There is no sermon) and afterwards drive around looking at Christmas lights. It’s fairly common for the kids to fall asleep in the car because we drive around so long.

Then the next morning we go to my mothers house and just the immeadiate family opens gifts. We have a regular type Sunday dinner and listen to Christmas Music all day. We have the nativity set where Jesus arrives on Christmas as well. But we don’t attend Church on Christmas morning. For my own daughter she has the 12 days of Christmas early (The 12 days before rather than after) and every day she chooses one gift from hanging on the tree (Generally bracelets and lipgloss and tiny dolls) and on Christmas She gets one more Gift from Mommy and one from St. Nick. We usually have a shoebox gift for Operation Christmas Child or one our church does directly.

On New years Eve all the extended Family goes to my mom’s house and we hold the Christmas celebration all over again. New Years Eve we ring bells at midnight and then the next morning gather together to hear Grandad read the Christmas Story from the Bible and My Grandma reads the legend of the Candy Cane. Then we open presants (again) and have a HUGE feast. This set of presants varies between drawing names and stocking stuffers or just stocking stuffers and presants for the kids.

Birthdays: B-days are big in my Family we usually decorate really fancy (But not quite as much as Christmas) and have a party. Birthdays mean a change in responsibilities and privledges in my house… one each for each year. For example, Last year for privledges my dd chose being allowed to chew gum as one privledge and having to pick up the litter from our yard once a week as one responsibility.

Baby Dedications and Baptisms: While we don’t have a party we do plan special for these and invite many family and friends to attend our church that day to witness it. Generally people dress up more for the dedications. And the Church gives a certificate signed by the pastor and two or more witnesses.

First Communion: This is not celebrated by us the same as Catholics, but it is still recognized as an important day for the child. It is more of a private celebration and isn’t recognized in front of the church.

You asked what Church Services are like:
The focus is on the Worship and generally the music has begun before everyone arrives. After the worship there is a time of greeting to say hello to people who are attending, this is also supposed to be a last chance before Communion to get right with anyone you are having an issue with (Though there isn’t really alot of time for that!) Then we have communion. Next is the announcements and an offering is taken. After offering is a sermon followed by more worship music. During the last worship music people are invited to go to the front for prayer with someone if they are sick and in need of healing or having other problems or if they want to become a Christian. People choose to go to the early or later service and the other service is spent at a Bible Study or Sunday School lesson.


Hey! Us, too! With a family our size, we HAD to go this route!:thumbsup: (but only for the adults… we still like to watch the kids get presents and if they get clothing–which they actually LIKE to receive–we parents say “the more, the merrier”!)


Catholic now, but, I grew up in the Evangelical Christian world, and all of our family are non-Catholic Christians…

Baptism - as a child, around 7- 12 years the kids decide to “make a public decision” and will be baptized. I was 8, we had a little luncheon and that was it. 1st communion was no big thing, once you were baptized you were welcome to help yourself to the juice and crackers as they were passed around.

Christmas - no mention of advent. Lots of decorations in the church show up shortly after Thanksgiving. There is usually a Christmas program/play put on the Sunday before Christmas, or in some places on Christmas eve. Some will have a Christmas Eve candle-light service with carols.

No service on Christmas day, if it falls on Sunday, the retular Sunday services will be cancelled.

Easter is Church (with sunrise service), egg hunting, food, and a new outfit!

New Years Eve, many have a “watch night service” with music and food.

Birthdays are family events.

Some groups trick-or-treat on Halloween, some think it is the devil’s night…


People orginally dressed up on Halloween to scare the evils spirits away.
Anyway it is a holiday now. I sincerely doubt your 5 year old son is dressing up as a wiggle to worship Satan. my 2cents. enjoy life. :thumbsup:

God bless,



*]The Christmas Tree was a Lutheran invention so, of course, we have those. We do all the rest too.
*]We celebrate the church year with all the seasons, Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, etc. We use the same calendar as the RCC.
*]It is very common to celebrate one’s “Baptism Day” occasionally with gifts from Godparents.
*]Our church services are similar to the RCC and Anglican Liturgies with a few significant differences.[/LIST]
/Official Lutheran Hat OFF


I numbered your questions to make it easier to answer…

  1. I do not celebrate Christmas, Easter. {this will be only the 3rd year} I do not because I now understand that God could care less about these customs. They are of men. I still attend when invited though.

  2. Nope. No other church holidays or Holy days…same reason.

  3. There are no Scriptural commands to celebrate “church” milestones. They are {in my opinion} not wrong. But they are uneccessary.

  4. **The salt of the earth is very scattered…**Thank God for the internet, fellowship is made much easier. We study the Scriptures, we pay attention to the words, we dig down to the true meaning of His Word. There are no services as you understand them. Neither are there any in Scripture.


For Advent I am re-reading an obscure little book by an equally-obscure author whom no one in this forum forum is likely to have heard of. The book is called “Life of Christ” and it’s by some character named Fulton Sheen. Supposedly this character had some sort of TV show once upon a time but I would expect any Catholics to have heard of it.

With a wicked grin:



Jesus had a TV show?


FWIW, I am currently attending a Lutheran Missouri Synod Church and even the traditional liturgical service is markedly different from an Episcopal service from the Book of Common Prayer (either Rite I or Rite II). Are there similarities, yes, but it would be a toss up to say whether the similarities outnumber the differences or vice versa. Maybe its different in other Lutheran denominations, that I would not know.


No, but Fulton Sheen does, Steadfast. Check it out on EWTN on Fridays and Sundays…


I was referring to the order of the service which is more or less the same in the western (latin) tradition.


I’ve seen him, he does nothing for me, he’s far too theatrical and phoney for my tastes.

I prefer Fr. Corapi.

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