When Christmas is Just Another Day 

A guide to non-holiday happenings

Neurolux serves as a shining beacon in the night for the holiday-weary and the non-Christmas celebrants alike.

Glen Landberg

Neurolux serves as a shining beacon in the night for the holiday-weary and the non-Christmas celebrants alike.

If movies and Hallmark are to be believed, Christmas is a magical day when bells ring, families love one another and even the ugliest of sweaters are forgiven.

But for millions of Americans, whether through religion, geography or apathy, it's just another day. Well, it would be just another day except that dang near everything is closed. Except Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. It will be open regular hours from 9 a.m.-10 p.m.--that is if there's a Christmas miracle and it actually snows a few feet in a very short time period. But don't fret if you find yourself non-Christian or without skis this year. There's no shortage of holiday cheer to be found sans holiday.

Perhaps the best thing about Christmas without Christmas is that everyone else is busy having Christmas, meaning roads and parks are empty. Take a drive and enjoy the total lack of traffic. Take a hike in the Foothills and enjoy the near-post-apocalyptic level of quiet. When Jean Paul Sartre wrote that "hell is other people," it was likely after experiencing the total zen calm of Christmas Day all to yourself.

However all that quiet works up an appetite. But as anyone who has seen the classic film A Christmas Story--or heard the song What We Do on Christmas by Atom and His Package--should know, Chinese restaurants are open for business, meaning you can still eat well.

After dinner, catch a movie. Studios generally save their best films for the holiday season to take advantage of people having more free time and wanting to be inside away from the cold, as well as to make a final push for Oscars. The week of Christmas will see a new Mission Impossible movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the much-hyped and David Fincher-helmed American adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and We Bought a Zoo, a new film from iconic director Cameron Crowe. Christmas Day will see the openings of the stylish and action-packed alien invasion film The Darkest Hour, as well as Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the World War I novel and Broadway play War Horse, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close from the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

And after catching a movie or two, it's time to party. The important thing to remember about Christmas without Christmas is that other people who celebrate it will travel long distances to do so. That means all your friends from high school who you haven't seen in years will be in town. And since they'll likely only be in town for a few days, they'll all want to go out, and no one will have to work in the morning. This makes Christmas one of the best days of the year to go bar hopping.

The late-night party at Neurolux on Christmas is legendary. Find your high-school best friends, remind them they still owe you a drink, repeat. Then wake up wrapped in festive paper next to your ex, swear this will be the last time and pull the same stunt next year. Requiring Christmas to enjoy Christmas Day only shows a lack of creativity. Seize the holiday and make it your own.

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