Around 17 million Germans don’t celebrate Christmas, a survey claims. What motivates people to forego the tree, carols, cookies and presents??
For many, Christmas is the most beautiful holiday of the year. But not everyone can share this euphoria. Around 17 million Germans over the age of 18 do not celebrate Christmas, according to a representative survey conducted by the market and opinion research institute YouGov. But can the number of Christmas refusers really be so high? And what motivates people who simply do without a tree, cookies, carols and presents on Christmas Eve and the Christmas holidays??
On the one hand, Christmas is particularly often cancelled by Germans with a migration background. For those who celebrate the Muslim festivals at home, Christmas may not play any role at all. But Germans with a migration background make up only about 20 percent of those not celebrating. For the remaining 80 percent, the reasons are not religious.
Manfred Spitzer, psychiatrist and non-fiction author from Ulm ("Loneliness"), explains it as follows: "Christmas is the festival of love and fellowship, celebrated above all in the family."Statistically, men celebrate less often than women, and an above-average number of young people skip the festivities. Spitzer sees the reason for this in the fact that families are formed later today than in the past. In his opinion, those who don’t have children or live alone often have no idea what to do with Christmas. "These people either have a different set of values than people living in families or feel burdened by not being able to live those values," Spitzer says.
For many, Christmas is a stress factor
This can also be confirmed by Uwe Muller, who has been in charge of the church telephone counselling service in Berlin and Brandenburg for the past 30 years. The subject of loneliness increases in the run-up to Christmas in particular. "The extreme form is of course experienced by people who are alone for the first time at Christmas because they have lost a loved one. Often they don’t know whether they should celebrate at all."
A second topic is also relevant for Uwe Muller’s pastors in the run-up to Christmas: Contradictions of expectations. For many, Christmas is a big stress factor because so much has to be organized, "the whole family thing," says Muller.
Reality and expectations are far apart at Christmas. "Christmas get-togethers with the family are given an overriding importance, that everything must go perfectly and be harmonious."But very few have the perfect family. Disappointments are to be expected. The pressure built up by the advertising and media world in the run-up to Christmas should not be underestimated. Over the decades, Christmas has increasingly developed from a festival of reflection to one of consumption. Many a person therefore voluntarily withdraws from the whole affair.
Arche invites the needy on Christmas Eve
But there are also many who would like to celebrate Christmas but, as low-income earners, cannot do so as they would wish, says Wolfgang Buscher, spokesman for the Christian children’s and youth organization Arche. Contemplation or carols – gifts are part of it. "For the families who come to us, from the age of 20. of the month, which is why Christmas is cancelled for countless families because of poverty," says Buscher.
More on the subject
Double presents What it’s like to have a birthday at Christmas
But for families who don’t feel able to host a Christmas themselves, there is help available. This year, the Arche is once again inviting those in need to a Christmas party at the Hofbrau Berlin on Christmas Eve. "We had to close the list Friday at 1001 guests, because we do not have more places available. For many families, Christmas in the ark is the only."