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People's incorrect assumptions making dd feel bad!!!

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
Arrrggghhhh, I am starting to hate the holiday season. I hate to be the Grinch, and I know I live in an area where most people celebrate Christmas, but I wish people - complete strangers, of course - would stop asking my DD what she wants Santa to bring her this year, or if she has a pretty Christmas tree in her house.

She has been telling me that she wishes she were Christian so she could celebrate Christmas and Santa can come to her house, and she could take a picture with Santa at the mall, blah, blah, blah.

Now, we are not even observant Jews, but we do celebrate Hanukkah. And I know Jewish people who "do" a little Christmas, and I'm not judging them, but I just don't feel comfortable with that. No matter how commercial Christmas gets, it's a religious holiday and it is just not right for me to participate in a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus! That doesn't mean that we won't go to friend's Christmas parties or whatever, but DD knows that it is not our holiday.

I have been sooo tempted to tell her that Santa is just pretend, but I am so worried that she will spill the beans to other kids and ruin it for them. I respect other families wishes to have their kids believe in Santa, so I've just told DD that he doesn't come to our house or the houses of any of our Jewish friends.

This is really silly, isn't it?

But it does tick me off when people ask DD about Santa when they don't even know if we celebrate Christmas. Just seems kind of clueless to me. :
post #2 of 90
As a Christian I do not see Santa as having anything to do with religion. A lot of the traditional Christmas decorations and other traditions are Christian per se either.

I know this is your family's decision though about where you cut the line.

I would politely correct people when they make those comments that you are Jewish so that they would know not to stick their feet in their mouths next time.
post #3 of 90
I totally respect your right not to celebrate the holiday, but just a little food for thought...

89% of Americans celebrate Christmas.

Most celebrate it on one of three levels:
1. The birth of Christ, who they view as the Savior of mankind.
2. The birth of Jesus, who they view as a nice guy and teacher whose ideas American culture was founded on.
3. A purely commerical gift-giving, family-gathering holiday.

Again, NOT trying to say you should celebrate it!
post #4 of 90
Yesterday we were at the hardware store and Cecelia was staring at a lady working there wearing a red shirt. The lady next to her said, "Oh she must like the color red, I bet she thinks you're Santa." I didn't want to burst their bubble and tell them that DD has never even seen Santa, let alone thinks he's a man who's bringing her gifts.

We're not Christian either, which people ALWAYS assume, but we have a tree and all that as part of our Solstice celebration. (Again, I'd hate to break their bubble and tell them that the whole evergreen thing is Pagan. )

People make a lot of ASSumptions.... I just ignore them. I'm sure that will be harder as DD gets older though...
post #5 of 90
Hiya! Well, if it makes you feel any better, we do live in a predominantly Jewish area (we are Jewish as well) and people STILL ask "have you done all your Christmas shopping?" My stock answer is either, "we don't celebrate Christmas" or "we celebrate a different holiday".

I know people are just saying it to be polite.

DD cracked me up yesterday - she goes to Jewish preschool (she's 3 1/2) and a woman asked her if she's "excited about Christmas". She looked the woman dead in the eye and said, "no. We don't celebrate Christmas, we're Jewish." So the woman says, "oh, I'm sorry" and my DD said, "Mommy, why is this lady sorry?" :LOL I felt bad for the woman, she really was just trying to be nice and she looked very embarrassed.

I bet she won't make that assumption anymore!

Edited to add: about your DD. I know that most Jewish kids go through a phase where they long to celebrate Christmas. You can only teach your child pride in what she is and know that this too shall pass. I really wouldn't was energy on anger - we are the vast minority in this country and that lesson will be learned eventually anyway!
post #6 of 90

Re: People's incorrect assumptions making dd feel bad!!!

Originally posted by LunaMom

I have been sooo tempted to tell her that Santa is just pretend, but I am so worried that she will spill the beans to other kids and ruin it for them. I respect other families wishes to have their kids believe in Santa, so I've just told DD that he doesn't come to our house or the houses of any of our Jewish friends.
JMO, but I'd tell her. My kids know santa isn't real and I don't think they've told anyone else. I refuse to lie to them so I've never done santa. Maybe your dd will feel better if she knows santa isn't real and that it's just their parents giving them stuff? Maybe she just feels a little left out?
post #7 of 90
I'm sorry that people's insensitive comments are making your DD feel bad! We're Christian, and I have to agree with Amara'smom that Santa has nothing to do with Christianity, but it doesn't matter - if you don't want to *do* Santa, that's your choice, and your DD shouldn't be made to feel bad about it.

I'm another one who thinks you should just tell her that there isn't really a Santa, but tell her not to tell. She'd probably like having a secret that the other kids dont' know, and it might take the sting out of Santa not coming to her house. Just an idea!
post #8 of 90
I'd also tell her that Santa isn't real. And if you really wanted to, you could point out that she gets gifts at Hannukah for 8 days, Christians only get them one day (assuming that's how you do it).
post #9 of 90
I know that this is kind of a vent for you but you know what your right, taht is pretty wrong. I never really thought about it before but the world is so much more diverse now we really shoudl take that into consideration. and kudos for you for not "spilling the beans " about santa.
On another note it's really hard to be PC nowadays but we should try more.
post #10 of 90
We live in an area with a large Orthodox Jewish community and DH and my in laws are Jewish. I try to make a point to wish people a happy holiday since you never know what they celebrate.
I'm sorry to hear that your dd is having a rough time of it. I'd try and remind her of the 8 days of the holiday instead of just 1. When I was little, I was always jealous of my Jewish friends who had 8 days when I just had 1.
post #11 of 90
Originally posted by sharonal
I totally respect your right not to celebrate the holiday, but just a little food for thought...
89% of Americans celebrate Christmas.
Most celebrate it on one of three levels:
...Again, NOT trying to say you should celebrate it!
Uh, and you think you need to point this out why? It's "food for thought"? Do you think there are any non-Christians in this country who don't know that the majority of people here celebrate Christmas? Did you think the OP slept through her entire upbringing, that she doesn't know she's in the minority?

Did you know that people who are in the minority in any way often know more about the majority culture than their own? I dare you to come up with the lyrics to any Hanukah song. Maybe you know "dreidel dreidel". I, on the other hand, know all the words to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "White Christmas" (written by a Jew, y'all) "Silent Night" (ditto) "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", "The Little Drummer Boy", "The Holly and the Ivy" (okay, that might really be pagan) and oh, so many more. Many many more.

I say, to LunaMom, don't you dare let your child think that Santa Claus is "real." Tell her the truth. What are you doing, making her feel like Jews are getting the short end of the stick with Santa? Don't do that!

Do what my mom did with us: make and buy some Hanukah decorations and put them up in your house. Hang one of those "Happy Hanukah" signs in your window. You can buy pre-made stuff
here if you don't have a Jewish bookstore near you. I know, it's really tacky, but it feels good. My mom made construction paper images of Judah Maccabee with his shield and a lion with a fringed mane, and got us not one but two Happy Hanukah signs, one for the front window, one for the back.

Have a Hanukah party and invite Dd's friends. Serve latkes. Play klezmer records--

play them LOUD.
post #12 of 90
Originally posted by captain optimism
Uh, and you think you need to point this out why?
I was thinking the same thing. What other reason than to suggest she celebrate Christmas?
post #13 of 90
Uh...I was kinda wondering the same thing too...

BTW, ITA about the Santa thing. My parents told me he wasn't real but told me to be sensitive to those that thought he was.
post #14 of 90
I also vote to tell her Santa isn't real I think letting her believe he's real but doesn't come to her house is guaranteed to make her feel left out. You can do what I do. I've told dd that people like to pretend Santa is real. We celebrate Christmas but don't do Santa, so that's how I explain it. She's 5 now, but she's seemed to understand it for a few years.

And I have to second that when I was little I was jealous of my Jewish best friend who had 8 days of gifts :LOL Not that you want to encourage materialism, but you could play that up a bit.

Ok, this may sound like a different subject, but we homeschool and CONSTANTLY get the school questions from strangers. At first I would answer "we homeschool" but now, at 5, she answers it proudly herself most of the time. When people ask her if Santa is bringing her toys, how about you answer for her and excitedly say "oh no, but we're *so* looking forward to 8 days of Chanukah and latkes and playing dreidel and . . . " (whatever you guys do in your family). I bet if you did that, after awhile she'd answer herself!
post #15 of 90
I've been thinking about this a lot this season...we aren't Jewish, and I no longer have anyone in my circle of friends who is Jewish (I have a few acquaintances, but no close friends) because of geography, but I've been noticing the assumptions that everyone makes and feeling sad for anyone living in the area where I live...today for example, we were at the local My Gym, and the owner was decorating with garland and ornaments...she asked me something about it and I started to point out that there were no dreidels (I hope I spelled that correctly) or things related to Chanukah when I realized that she did in fact have silver and blue along one wall. So I stopped and she noted it too. But dagnabbit she's the only person who seems to realize that not everyone celebrates the same holidays! I would like to see people acknowledging Solstice and Kwanzaa and any other tradition. I'm sorry you're struggling with this right now...hopefully that came out right.


edited for spelling
post #16 of 90
I am sorry that people are being insensitive about your religion. We are (no longer) christian, but keep christmas because most of our family is and they want to celebrate it. Not the same though, anyway, it made me think about whether I ask other kids about santa and I guess I don't. but I will pay extra attention NOT to ask unless they bring it up.

And I also agree that you could explain it to your DD that Santa is not real. I think you can explain it in a way that is sensitive to others. If she does spill the beans the parents of the other kids can recoup. I had my sister believing in Santa after my parents explained what was up, and she believed in Santa till she was almost 8! I am really such a terrible sister, but I liked living vicariously through her so much. Selfish though I know.

Still, I really feel that the whole Christmas thing does get shoved down your throat a bit and I don't like it. And DH's firm always has the holiday party so it overlaps ramadan (well, not this year but the last few years it has) which I think is sort of rude. I mean, you are having a feast at a time when some people really cannot go! Grrr

Happy Holidays everyone
post #17 of 90
Well a lady I know invented hannukah Harry. he is Santa's cousin who lives in the South pole and he wears blue and drives a blue sleigh with a star of David n the side of it. She invented Hannukah Harry because she is Jewish and her DH is catholic and they celebrate both, but she wanted the children when they were small to be as excited about Hanukkah as they were about Christmas.

Sort of like Ross' Hannukah Armadillo (for those of us who watch Friends)

Imagine the look on someone's face when they ask what santa is bringing and she says nothing, but Hannukah Harry is! LOL.

and I have been with my friend when someone says "Merry Christmas" she replies "Happy Hannukah!"

(And a very happy hannukah to you!)
post #18 of 90
We are christian, but we don't do Santa. I've told them that its fine to "pretend" about Santa, and they do. I've also told them that different families believe different things, and its never okay to tell someone they are "wrong" about their personal beliefs. If one child believes in Santa and the other does not -- then they simply hold different beliefs. My older son has run into similar disagreements about belief in God -- nobody's life has been ruined. Its possible for children to respectfully disagree.

I feel angry on your dd's behalf -- its wrong for people to make assumptions about beliefs. My son does not go to public school, but many of our friends and neighbors do. I'm horrified every year by the content of the ps school curriculum -- it is a matter of fact that they will write letters to Santa in writing class, and they will make santa/reindeer/candycane projects in art. Its horrifying and incredibly disrespectful to me that they just "assume" everyone will be into all this.

My son's private school goes over the basics of many different December holidays. They actually downplay Christmas. Last year a Jewish mom came in and cooked with the class, and taught them to play "dreidle." Did I spell that right?
post #19 of 90
T Hanukah Harry? I believe there was a Saturday Night Live sketch about Hanukah Harry. That totally great actor, Jon Lovitz, played him. It was funny. Hanukah Harry subs for Santa, which makes all the non-Jewish children happy--but brings them socks and underwear as Christmas presents, which confuses them. I love Jon Lovitz. The cantor in my mom's schul looks just like him, so whenever I go there I have to stifle my laughter.

Ramadan is on a lunar calendar so it falls each year at a slightly different time. Hanukah is on a luni-solar calendar, so it's always a at a different time but generally falls during December.

The presents-at-Hanukah thing isn't such a big deal. Jewish children used to get money to gamble with () and then that changed to presents, I think to compete with Christmas. But it is fun to exchange presents. For the last 25-30 years it's been traditional to give children (and grown-ups) chocolate coins for gambling. In my family I remember gambling with pretzels.

There are lots of fun things for children that are a normal part of Hanukah. This includes the actual mitzvah (commandment) to light candles where people can see them. Children can arrange the candles in their menorah in the color order they like, or you can use oil wicks, which is very cool. The dreidel is a naturally fun thing for children. Fried foods, fun for children. (Okay, fried foods are fun for everyone! ) You can make homemade applesauce to go with your latkes, that's a fun thing. Parties are fun. Dreidels are fun, whether you gamble with them or not (and no matter how you spell them.) The story of Hanukah is an interesting story to learn, and that's fun. (Don't forget to teach your daughters about the female heroines attached to Hanukah.)

Socks and underwear are fun presents. ag

I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's fun to be Jewish, even during Christmas. What's not fun is dealing with people's intolerance. Luckily for all of us who are various kinds of minorities, the general trend in our country is tolerance and freedom of religion. God rest ye merry, gentlewomen.
post #20 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.

I have to admit, I was put off by the post that pointed out that the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas. I kinda knew that already...: And I can't figure out the purpose of telling me that - was it to suggest that I should just shut up and deal with it because I'm a minority? Yeah, just like all those African-Americans should quit complaining about taxicabs passing them by or being followed around by security guards in stores...don't they know that 75% of people living in America are white??? :

I'm not usually this snotty or sarcastic, but I couldn't help myself.
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