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People's incorrect assumptions making dd feel bad!!! - Page 2

post #21 of 90
I've never met a real live Jewish person. I mean, I talk to you guys, but never in person. I promise, if I were to ask your children about Christmas, I'm not trying to be rude or dismissive. (This, of course, is assuming I'd meet you without knowing who you are, see. It'd be rather retarded of me to ask if I already KNEW, ya know?) It just wouldn't occur to me.

In general, I dislike people asking my kids about what they're getting for Christmas. That's putting the focus on the wrong thing. But people like to make small talk and that's an easy conversation with a lot of kids.

I'm with captain optimism. Enjoy your traditions and beliefs and teach your children the songs, games and stories. Also, tell your kids the truth about Santa. She's not going to ruin anything for someone else. If they want to believe bad enough, they will.

The most important thing...I can't know everything about everyone upon a chance meeting in the line at the supermarket. I can either be friendly and make conversation and enjoy myself, or I can fear saying the wrong thing and be quiet and not enjoy the company of others around me. If I say the wrong thing, tell me so. I might learn something.

(I loved that Jon Lovitz sketch, btw. There isn't really a Hanukah Harry, is there?)
post #22 of 90
I agree with all the posters who suggested playing up all the fun parts of your celebration, and also telling her that Santa isn't real.

And while I do agree that not honoring other religions in public school is insensitive, I have to say that I think it's kind of a leap to call people rude and insensitive if they say "Merry Christmas" or ask a kid about Santa. I understand your perspective, but they are just trying to be nice, and we all make assumptions when we don't know someone. Maybe we assume they are American, maybe we assume they were not adopted. Asking a child what they want for their birthday and then finding out that their family are Jehovah's Witness doesn't make them rude, IMO. I am all for being culturally sensitive, but it comes to a point where no one can say anything without fear of upsetting someone.

Just kind of a related story: My mom was at the grocery store the other day, and saw two men getting out of the car next to her with a baby. She said to them something like "Oh, I love to see two men shopping with a baby!" (My mom talks to strangers a lot.) In her mind, she was being complimentary that they were taking on typically female responsibilities. Inside the store, one of the men approached her and said "You know, that's OUR baby." And she said, "Well, I assumed it was your baby." And he said "No, it's OUR baby." She finally got what he was saying - that they were a gay couple that had adopted the baby. She said "Oh, I like that even better!" in a cheerful voice. He just kind of glared at her and walked away. So somehow he was offended by her comments, when in reality she would be the first person to wholeheartedly support same sex couples raising children, and certainly didn't mean anything negative. But it gets to a point where we're all going to have to stop even talking to strangers for fear of offending them, and that just isn't right.

So instead of being angry that it doesn't occur to other people that maybe you don't celebrate Christmas, maybe see it as an opportunity to educate them on your holiday, and show your daughter that you are proud of your heritage.

Oh, and when the other poster said that 89% of people celebrated Christmas, I thought she was just pointing out that since so many people celebrate Christmas that it kind of explained why they assumed that the person they are talking to would. I could be wrong, but that's how I read it.
post #23 of 90

Other people do that, we do this. Plain & simple.

The jealousy part is tough, but if you're consistent in not making it like you've got "sloppy seconds," IYKWIM, then your child won't feel like that, either.

And in re: the 89 percent who celebrate Christmas, etc., etc., etc. ... this is not just in America. It's a world-wide fact of life for Jews. In only one country in the world ... count 'em, folks, one ... can Jews say the majority celebrates Chanuka.

Only one.

Only one country in the world where you don't have to worry about final exams possibly scheduled for Shavuot, or job deadlines scheduled for Sukkot, or even school orientations for Rosh HaShanah. Not to mention birthday parties (with cake, right?) during Passover. Or the boss expecting you to be able to come in to work on Saturday.

Which is what Jews world-over put up with on a regular basis. Because people make assumptions. And because there's only one place where Jews are the majority, slim though that majority may be.
post #24 of 90
T again: I just wanted to post a link to a photo of the guy who looks like Jon Lovitz mainly for Chelle's benefit. If you scroll down to the photo of him in his special cantor's hat (not too many cantors wear those anymore, ya know) you will understand why I crack up whenever I go to this synagogue. Also, he's got a great voice, but sometimes his use of vibrato reminds me of Jon Lovitz, too. (Who also has a great voice. Jon Lovitz is a very talented guy. )

I guess, for me, the thing isn't that people shouldn't say "Merry X-mas" or whatever, but that it's tough for a mom to figure out how to support her child in being in the minority. That's what I got from the OP. Jews are actually a very small minority in the US as a whole, maybe 2% of the entire population.

My dh still hates hearing X-mas music, still gets all annoyed at the overwhelming Christmas cheer. But not me. I have no problem when people wish me a Merry Christmas, I always find some way to say something nice back. Until this discussion, I thought this was because of my positive contact with Christmas when I worked at a Catholic children's hospital.

But now I think it was because my mom made us feel good about Hanukah when I was child. My dh said, "But you lived in a mainly Jewish area when you were growing up!" True! But that didn't mean we weren't completely bombarded with Christmas, just like everyone else in the United States. Still it was a special thing for me that my mom had actually made us some decorations, and they were pretty good. Other Jewish kids in our area actually had Christmas trees. :

I still arrange the Hanukah candles in a particular order.

(I also really enjoy my movies and Chinese food experience on X-mas. )

Anyway, thank you for helping me find another thing that my mom did right.
post #25 of 90
co: That link is getting a lot of hits, I think. LOL I'm waaaaiting.

If it makes your dh feel any better at all, ~I~ get tired of all the Christmas cheer. Especially since it's starting in OCTOBER now. Arrrgh!!!

Happy Holidays!
post #26 of 90
I'm sorry your DD is going through this.

I'm assuming the poster who posted the Christmas stats didn't realize that non-Christians celebrated Christmas and wanted to show that you *could* celebrate Santa but not embrace Christianity. I don't know them, though, so I don't know for sure.

I wanted to mention that, as a Christian, I get sick of people asking about Santa. DS (2) is terrified of him, DD (4) will *look* at him, but not get within 10 feet. Also, we do stockings as "gift bags" for Baby Jesus' birthday. So, they get things like gummy bears, lol. They don't really ask Santa for things and they definately know they are getting them--- if they are "good" or not. I HATE people asking my kids if they've been "good enough" for Santa to come. The last thing I need is my kids thinking they're not good enough for a fat little man to break & enter their house!

I always try to say "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" hoping that is okay. Is it?
post #27 of 90
Just wanted to say that if you are going to tell your DD that there is no Santa Clause maybe you could also point out that the idea of Santa Clause did come from an actual person and tell her teh story of Saint Nicolas and how he used to leave little presenstf ro the children. Just so she knows that there was a "santa clause " in history and not just a mad up commercial type thing. This is what we did for DS. He knows that the ,all santa do not really bring him gifts but that there is an idea or memory behind those he sees so he's less inclined to dissapoint other childrens beliefs that way. Just a though.
post #28 of 90
Thread Starter 
And while I do agree that not honoring other religions in public school is insensitive, I have to say that I think it's kind of a leap to call people rude and insensitive if they say "Merry Christmas" or ask a kid about Santa.
Hey, wait, I never said anyone was rude. I know they are just being friendly, it just bugs me that people don't think first before they make assumptions, and it bugs me that it's creating Santa-envy in my child.
post #29 of 90
I agree it's not rude or disrespectful to talk about Christmas to kids. Again, my example is homeschooling (really, it's related!) It's not religion obviously, but homeschoolers are in the minority everywhere and, other than in December, asking about school is the number 1 topic of conversation with kids (even in the summer it's "are you glad school is out?" or "are you going to school this fall?"). I don't think it's rude or disrespectful for people to ask these questions. Yes, it is at times annoying, but I recognize that since the large majority of kids in this country go to school, they are simply making an assumption based on that fact. It may be ignorance, but I wouldn't call it rude.

And what someone said about feeling good about Chanukah goes for me and homeschooling too (I promise, I do have more than a one track mind ) When my dd was younger and people asked if she was going to school I just said no. We started getting questions when she was 2 and for a few years I would just say no and leave it at that. When she was 4 I finally realized that instead of focusing on what she was *not* doing, I needed to focus on what we *were* doing. Not talking about homeschooling it was as if I was embarrassed or something. So I started telling complete strangers we were homeschooling when they asked if she was in school. Now she's 5 and she proudly says it herself

So for the Christmas thing, you need to take the focus off of what you aren't doing and focus on what you *are* doing. Show your dd that you are proud of who you are instead of letting her focus on what she thinks she's missing
post #30 of 90
LunaMom, we posted the same time I just wanted to say my post wasn't implying you said it was rude, I just was responding to other posts. And I like to ramble on, :LOL
post #31 of 90
Hannukkah Harry appears every year at our house!

This time of year is really really tough. Our ds is surrounded by Santa and Christmas at school and in our neighborhood. He knows who Santa is. He thinks Santa is funny. I think he even thinks Santa is real.

As a Jewish child growing up I always felt like I got the short end of the deal and I really hated being different. I know everyone tried to make things special, but it really can be tough to compete and understand why others have this big gorgeous tree full of lights and you light candles. Everything is Christmas. Unless you live in a Jewish area, you really don't see anything about Hannukkah.

Since Sam is now really interested in holidays we are trying to make everything a really big deal. For our Hannukkah celebration we have dreidel lights that we put in our bedroom windows (think Christmas lights that you would hang in the window only they are colorful driedels), window clings with Happy Hannukkah and kids doing celebratory things, we have our menorahs, a wall hanging, blue lights for our big window downstairs (okay, yes these technically are Christmas lights, but they are blue and look really nice in the window), and a door hanging for our front door. Dh was thinking that maybe we should get our own little tree thing and hang blue ornaments from it as long as it isn't a conifer. I did buy blue and silver ornaments that are really quite nice (oh, and the price was right). I just don't know how I feel.

In a nutshell, I think this is THE most difficult time of year for Jewish children. Especially those who don't live in predominantly Jewish areas. We need to make the holiday special anyway we can.
post #32 of 90
The story of Hannukkah Harry

The Night Hannukkah Harry Saved Christmas

post #33 of 90
Originally posted by mirlee
The story of Hannukkah Harry

The Night Hannukkah Harry Saved Christmas

I prostrate myself before your superior web research skills. You rock. Jon Lovitz forever!

Also, have you heard about this crazy new movie ? I am NOT suggesting that anyone take an impressionable child to see this!
post #34 of 90
I'm sorry, I wasn't saying that anyone in particular was saying that it was rude, but it's a sentiment that I've heard before - that it's culturally insensitive to assume that everyone celebrates Christmas. I was just trying to say that I don't think that it's necessarily insensitive. If a Jewish person wished me Happy Hannukah, I wouldn't be taken aback by their insensitivity since I celebrate Christmas, so I see it as going both ways. That said, though, I do tend to definitely say "Happy Holidays" or something like that, just because I don't want to offend anyone. I tend to make sure that Christmas cards I buy say "Peace" or "Happy Holidays" or something besides "Merry Christmas" because I do have some Jewish friends, and even though some of them celebrate Christmas as well and wouldn't care at all what my cards said, I still would rather err on the side of caution. I've always been surprised when corporate cards are sent out en masse that have a specific religious theme.

Anyway, I guess my original response didn't really address what the OP was having a hard time with, sorry about that.

I also HATE it when people ask kids if they've been "good" this year. We totally do the whole Santa thing, but never with the good/bad distinction (other than when joking around). I find it incredibly manipulative.
post #35 of 90
I seem to be the only one who came to this conclusion but...

...when I read the "stats" post by Sharonal, I assumed her point was that since most people here celebrate Christmas, you're probably going to be in the situation of the OP (and others like her) in hearing that as a greeting alot. I sure DIDN'T get that she was suggesting you should celebrate Christmas just b/c the majority do!!! :

Anyways, I think we all need to ask ourselves, what would we do/feel in the reverse situation?

If I decided to up and move my Christmas-celebrating family to a country that was predominantly Jewish, I would not be the LEAST bit offended if everybody was saying "Happy Hannukah" and asking my DD if she got to light the menora last night. Or if we moved to a Muslim country I would expect Ramadan to rule the calender of activities at that time of year, kwim?

So I guess I don't understand why people get so upset at all the Christmas greetings in a country where most people celebrate Christmas?

I honestly believe that the people who are asking your DD about Santa and Christmas are only trying to be sweet and nice and I think the very best way to "give them an education" is to respond in the same polite and sweet way that you don't celebrate Christmas, you celebrate [insert festival here] and btw DD is *very* excited about [insert fun part of festival here].

I can see how it gets frustrating, just like I get tired sometimes of "sleeping through the night" questions and things related to cribs and bottles, lol. But I accept that it's the way things are, and don't get rude about it (not saying anyone here DID get rude, I just think it's important not to let that frustration come out at the expense of the poor slob who wished you a Merry Xmas for the 1000th time that day).
post #36 of 90
I generally say happy holidays around this time of year, instead of Merry Christmas. I do think people need are just asking about Santa to be nice, but lots of people don't do the santa thing, regardless of religion. DD is still scared of Santa- so we're talking about it, but not going to see him.

I do hear your frustration. I'm taking a multicultural education class this semester and it brings out a lot of good points of being considerate to people of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

I'm sorry your dd is feeling bad about santa.
post #37 of 90
This is the most difficult time of the year for a lot of people I think. I tend to say things like Christmas tree, and Christmas shopping because I just don't want to explain that we don't celebrate Christmas one more time. People look at you like you're crazy. We have gone round and round in trying to decide what or how we want to celebrate with DS who is now 17 months old. We finally decided that Santa who is a wonderful old fairy, will be bringing a stocking of small goodies on Solstice eve. We share gifts with each other on the evening of Solstice. Then on Christmas eve we join with DH's Jewish sister and her family to open Christmas gifts at their Catholic parents house. All of the children, the pagan grandson and the Jewish granddaughters receive gifts from Santa and Hannukah Harry. It makes for quite an eclectic family gathering. We have our own Solstice celebration with our friends on the Saturday before Solstice and the Jewish relatives celebrate with their other Jewish family members. It gets interesting when everyone is wishing the "correct" holiday greeting to each family member.

No matter what you celebrate in your family, I hope each of you has a blessed and joyfilled holiday season and a most wonderful new year.
post #38 of 90
Piglet68, I think the issue was how it effects the children ... and when it's in the children's face like that, well, it's piled on top of the fact that Christmas is ubiquitous. On TV, on the street, in the stores, in the store windows ... it's inescapable, and so overwhelming ... that can make even strongly Jewishly-identified kids ... or any other non-Christmas celebrating kids ... a little wistful, IYKWIM.

And in re the stats post, and moving your family to a predominantly Chanuka-celebrating country ... that was entirely my point. I got it that way, too. As I stated in response, there's only one country in the universe in that situation, and it's such a novelty-concept ... throughout the world, everywhere a Jewish person goes, they're "the other." So to me it doesn't make sense to be bothered by it, but it does make a lot of sense that "a Jew should know where it's at," as my Rebbe z'l would say, and shore up the Jewish pride in our children, to avoid the inevitable trampling of self-esteem that comes from being "the other."
post #39 of 90
Amy, you're right. That's a very good point.

Of course, this year has been a total for me. I grew up celebrating Christmas, as did DH, but now he wants to convert to Judaism so we're doing Hannukah this year. Even if we were doing Christmas, I think we would have skipped the tree simply b/c it's asking for trouble with a toddler around. And I have no idea what we'll be doing next year either.

When the librarian asked DD if we were having a Christmas tree this year, I had absolutely no idea what to say, LOL.

But you're right. Being the minority in anything is hard for kids, and I can imagine the Holiday season is particularly rough considering the commercial bombardment of "Christmas".
post #40 of 90
I wear Islamic dress and people STILL wish me a Merry Christmas! I think they're being really nice (although a bit ignorant) so I simply say 'thank you' or 'you too' and smile. Hey, at least they're not yelling at me to "go back to where I came from", right?

But that is TOTALLY different than someone approaching my child about Santa. My Ilyas is still too young to comprehend Santa, but I think if someone were to ask him about Santa when he's older I would tell him to be honest - we're Muslim and we don't celebrate Christmas. But he's only 3 months old right now so it's all easy for me to say

I'm sorry your daughter feels bad. I hope the two of you find a way to successfully deal with this situation!

umm ilyas
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