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This article was published 25/12/2009 (2742 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
FOR most Manitobans, Friday was a day to celebrate Christmas, exchanging gifts and feasting on a turkey dinner with loved ones. However, for some, Dec. 25 is just another day.
According to a 2001 Statistics Canada poll, more than a quarter of Winnipeggers do not identify themselves as Christian -- mainly people with no religious affiliation.
Some Winnipeggers who don't follow Jesus enthusiastically embrace Santa anyway, but not Kien Dang, 31.
He has never celebrated Christmas, but he doesn't feel like he's missing anything, since he doesn't really know what it's like to partake in traditional Christmas festivities.
"When I was younger, I always thought it was just a break from school."
Dang said for the last couple of years, he and his friends have got together in the weeks before Christmas for a celebration they have dubbed Festivus -- from the secular holiday created by writer Dan O'Keefe and popularized by TV's Seinfeld.
On Dec. 25, Dang usually goes ice fishing or watches movies and hangs out with friends after they have finished with their family gatherings.
Stephanie Fenner, 27, said she decided to forgo a big Christmas celebration this year, since her parents went out of town to visit her brother for the holidays.
"I didn't have any holiday time to go with them," she said, adding someone had to look after the dog while her parents were gone.
Fenner stayed home and kept things "low key" by enjoying a quiet home-cooked chicken dinner with her boyfriend.
Jose Ibarra said he didn't celebrate Christmas this year because he doesn't like how commercialized the holiday is.
He went to the Empire theatre at Grant Park Shopping Centre with his daughter, Friday. Ibarra doesn't agree with spending thousands of dollars on toys and presents, when there are people suffering in developing countries.
At a crowded Young's Market on McPhillips Street, Emiliano Reyes was shopping for dinner. The married father of four said while his wife and kids would be attending a Christmas celebration, he opted out.
"I'm going to stay home," he said. "I'll probably just watch TV and cook something special just for me."
One man at Grant Park mall, who declined to give his name, said he doesn't celebrate Christmas because he is Jewish.
"There is probably less pressure on me than other people who do celebrate Christmas," he said, noting extravagant family gatherings can be stressful. "I heard somewhere that the highest divorce rate is right before Christmas. It makes sense."
The man said he still enjoys Dec. 25 because it's a day when he can rest and "take it easy."
He said even though nothing was open Christmas Day, he was still able to get a coffee at a McDonald's restaurant.