Isn't Happy Holidays More Inclusive Than Merry Christmas?

Isn't Happy Holidays More Inclusive Than Merry Christmas?

 The day after Thanksgiving two words come out of hibernation: Merry Christmas.  I appreciate the kindness from strangers, but I don't celebrate Christmas.  Can't everyone say Happy Holidays; doesn't it mean the same, yet not make others feel excluded?

When driving my three year old to her friend's house, I pointed out her beautiful Christmas tree glowing through the window.  

Her response was obvious, "I want a Christmas tree."

"We don't celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Hanukkah."

"I don't want to celebrate Hanukkah."  Then she continued, "How about when I'm four I can celebrate Christmas?"

 "But, we are Jewish and don't celebrate Christmas." I said.

"I don't want to be Jewish," my girl pouted.

I patiently attempted to explain that we don't have a choice; it is just the way it is.  But, honestly it is a hard concept for a child to comprehend.

My kindergartener complained that his best buddy has been giving him a hard time for not celebrating Christmas.  He also has been sharing  how kids in his class have "this elf that sits on a shelf and moves to different parts of the house every day."  I love the idea of the elf and think it might even help my kids to listen, but Santa doesn't come to our house.

We all feel excluded.  I don't blame those that celebrate Christmas, I'm happy for all of you to enjoy your holiday. 

I'll suck it up for 23 more days.



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  • This is a hard one when it comes to explaining things to your kids, Beth! I feel like no matter what people say to me (b/c I have Jewish friends and friends who have no religious beliefs at all) I can always tell if whatever they are saying is coming from a kindhearted place. I don't want it to be a contest, whose religion/celebration is better, you know? We all celebrate what we want and the point behind all of these celebrations is to build people up with love instead of knocking them down!

    Totally my opinion, though. A Happy Hanukkah to your family! :) VERY good post, by the way...

  • Merry Christmakwanzaanukkahashura!

    Is everybody happy now???

    Oh, and for the atheists, Happy December!

  • Too funny as we have the reverse in our house. Many of my kids' friends are Jewish and it gets really old really quickly listening to mine whining about not getting presents for 8 whole days!!

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    Funny. I guess we always want what we can't have.

  • Spoil the hell out of them during Pesach, and let them make their friends jealous for a change.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Pesach is even worse. They don't get an Easter basket, and can only eat matzah!

  • In reply to Yoga Mom:

    We give afikomen gifts in my family. It draws the kids into the seder and gets them excited for the holiday. Might be worth trying. I wish I could say I had a way to make the food thing easier. I personally love Pesach food, but I also know that kids thrive on routine, and they don't like it when they can't have what they want for a whole week. But give the gift giving thing a try.

  • In my extended family we are quite the melting pot of religions. Catholic, Jewish (my cousin a Rabbi), Atheist, Agnostic. I send my little cousins Hannukah presents & they send my kids Christmas presents. I always do a neutral card last year Happy Everything! We are diverse, close and loving family. Wouldn't have it any other way. Love your post!

    Happy Everything to your family!

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    Beth Prystowsky

    Trying to raise children with a sense of calm in a chaotic world.

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