Planning for the Christmas season


Perhaps you are raising your kids as Jews and you celebrate Christmas. Maybe you are still trying to find the right words to use to describe your decision to your kids, extended family or friends. I’m going to focus on the kids and what comes from this should work for adults. First, talk with your partner about why the two of you have decided to have Christmas. Be sure you have a shared understanding. It could be, Daddy/Mommy had Christmas when he/she was growing up and he/she wants to have it still. Just that simple.

Explain to your child(ren) that Parent Z (the Jewish parent) is Jewish and so are they. And Parent Q (the non-Jewish parent) isn’t Jewish and grew up doing what most Americans do, celebrate Christmas. If Parent Q is Christian you can say that Christmas is part of the religion they grew up with. Additionally, they loved – the tree, the lights, the music, fill in what is true. Now as a grownup Parent Q still wants to have Christmas very much so your family has Christmas together and it makes Parent Q happy.

If Parent Q had no religious elements to Christmas but simply celebrated it as an American Folkloric holiday you can describe the way that the holiday started out religious and took on lots of other parts – Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman. I would be frank about the fact that the American marketplace drives this exploding phenomenon. But I would hope you would add that for your family shopping and material things are not the focus. You love to be together, to do things for others (adopt a family through one of the social service offices), spend time playing games with Grandma or making cookies for the next door neighbor. Drive around and look at the lights on people’s houses and talk about how these are modern expressions of how people have always lit fires in the dark of winter. Tell stores that expand their understanding. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a story written to encourage people to be kind to those less fortunate than themselves. Ever culture and religion teaches this through stories. You can ask your librarian to help you find morality tales from other cultures – like Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters and Aesop’s Fables.

Let me know how you like to explain your chosen practice to your child.

Happy holidays!