Every year I tell you not to start negotiating change in December. Here we are in early November so we can talk about tweaking the December holidays. I’m not suggesting a complete overhaul. (Making big changes should be discussed and anticipated.) But knowing that we are heading into December brings up the question: of what about Christmas?
Some of you are celebrating Christmas – some with comfort, some not so comfortable. Some don’t celebrate Christmas and that too doesn’t guarantee peace and contentment either. There are two things to consider when you are looking at celebrating Christmas:
-how is it impacting you and your partner
-how is it affecting your children
I have had Jewish partners who said, “My spouse does everything Jewish. Doing Christmas is the one thing that he/she asks for. I can do that.”
I’ve also had non-Jewish partners who said, “When December comes the whole world is Christmas. I provide a sanctuary for my Jewish spouse by shutting Christmas outside our home.”
These two perspectives are both right. They are tailored to the couple that is making the decisions. These couples are being sensitive to each other and the needs of their partner.
Now you may not have one partner who feels able to give up on the “Christmas in our home” question. You may be looking at spending Christmas with extended family or friends in this case. I know couples who go away to a tropical location – Mexico or Hawaii – for the winter break. That’s what works for them.
Some people focus on the size of the tree. If that helps, then it’s a good idea. If it only functions as a way to narrow an argument, then you need to clear the air and have a larger discussion.
Negotiation, compromise, discussion, communication. All important to a successful relationship. If you feel you need some help, call me.
I’ll talk more about children and Christmas next week.
In my last email I sent you a link to Juliet’s story of her interfaith relationship and marriage. This week I’m sending you some of her husband, Birger’s, thoughts.