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People's incorrect assumptions making dd feel bad!!! - Page 3

post #41 of 90
As a Jewish girl, probably my best "holiday season" was the one I spent during college studying abroad in the country where Hanukah is celebrated by the majority. The thrill I had when I would ride the bus from the center of town back to my dorm in the evening was unlike any other. Rather than seeing Christmas trees in the windows (which I do think are beautiful!), I saw hanukah lights in practically every window (for all the New Yorkers: reminding me of the time we used to drive home from visiting family in Long Island, and pass Co-Op City in the Bronx, and I would count the electric menorahs in the windows - there were lots!).

I ate jelly donuts instead of candy canes. Potato pancakes instead of egg nog. You get the picture.

I used to love the fact that I knew that Santa was the same person as the Easter Bunny...I definitely think you should be open about this. She won't spill the beans. It's her little priviledge to know this!
post #42 of 90
Quote:
Originally posted by UmmIlyas
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?
post #43 of 90
Quote:
Originally posted by captain optimism
Uh, and you think you need to point this out why? .
I brought it up to show that for most Americans, asking someone about Christmas is a "nice" thing to do, and it is not meant to hurt her daughter's feelings. The majority of people celebrate it. If they ask you about it, it's not because they're trying to be insensitive.

I was NOT trying to imply that she was unaware of the fact that most people celebrate it, just trying to make her aware of others' intentions.
post #44 of 90
Last year, my niece was in Kindergarten and came home from school one day in hysterical tears. The kids at school were talking about their Christmas trees and Santa Claus and going to church for midnight mass (a very special treat, to be up that late when you're 5/6 years old). My niece said "Oh, we don't celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Channukah" and the kids told her that if you don't have a Christmas tree, you don't get presents. She said that she'd gotten lots of presents from her mom and they said "Yeah, but Santa brings more presents than your parents."

The worst part was, her teacher *encouraged* the other children in their strongly anti-Channukah behaviors. I suppose that because my niece is very obviously not white that it was somehow wrong for her to be so defensive of Channukah; after all, she doesn't even "look Jewish", so she must be mistaken. There were two other Jewish kids in her class, but my niece was by far the most vocal (and the most informed) about Channukah. She was the only one who got upset, and she really felt like her whole class and her teacher were ganging up on her. She begged for a Christmas tree until *January*. Every time someone asked her if she'd been good this year or if Santa was coming, she'd become surly and miserable.

I really think people should be more considerate to children than that. I don't care if the majority of people celebrate Christmas. It's not that difficult to say "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings". Or even to ask "What do you celebrate this time of year?" (Though I've never heard that question outside of a college campus from people who weren't already fully aware that I'm not Christian.)

And I totally agree about the minority in any situation knowing more about the majority culture. I can say Hail Mary in English, Latin, and German, but how many Christians do you know who can say the Shema at all? I have a more thorough understanding of Christian dogma than most Christians I've encountered. It's never necessary to point out to a member of a minority that they are, in fact, a member of a minority. We are very much aware of it from early childhood.
post #45 of 90
T

What? She didn't invent Hannukah Harry? I can't remember if she said she did, but never mentioned SNL either.

How did I never see that skit? I love SNL...

Ok, back to your regular discussion...
post #46 of 90
Quote:
Originally posted by eilonwy
I really think people should be more considerate to children than that.
Eilonwy, that was a horrible story, but I really don't think it is the same as people innocently asking a kid if santa is coming for them. Instead, that's (IMO) a story of a teacher who needs to be fired. If there had been a competent, caring teacher at the head of her class that day it could have ended up a far different situation. The class might have actually *learned* something. Instead she had a cruel bigot for a teacher and that's what happened to your poor neice. I hope she has a better teacher this year.
post #47 of 90
Wow, this thread is long, and I have thought of many things to say while reading it- let's see how many I can remember

I was going to bring up the Friends episode too

I am a Catholic, we celebrate Christmas, and I am annoyed by people asking my kids about Santa, for one, b/c I am not doing the "santa" thing, and two- because it is not the appropriate focus of the season for us.

One of the main reasons we (I ) decided not to "do santa" (beyond the lying involved) is b/c of how it makes other kids feel. My thoughts- I admit though, were always focused on the "poor" kids, who wouldn't get anything from Santa b/c of money issues, I am glad to have read this thread, and realized another great reason. Whenever the "santa" issue comes up on boards I visit, I always try to tell people how happiness and magic can be created without the risk of hurting other kids (again, I was always thinking of the poor previously).

My main point here is that you should tell your dd, absolutely, no question in my mind, if some kid who "believes" in Santa learns the truth, are they really "hurt" by your dd, are they really "hurt" at all? OTOH- your dd is hurting, and I think it is your job to correct that, and also- to everyone who points out how these people mean well (which I believe they do)- it is the responsibility of all people to be more sensitive to children, and to think of other things to talk to kids about (it's not hard), esp. if you have read this thread, you can learn from other people's mistakes which hurt children.

Also, I think you've gotten great suggestions from others on here on how to make your own celebration extra special for your dd, please though- do let her know about Santa, she deserves to know.
post #48 of 90
Oh, I SO enjoyed reading this thread!!! Also hoping I can remember the responses I planned while reading.

First, I don't think it is RUDE when other people assume we celebrate Christmas... I think it is ANNOYING. :LOL For the five millionth time in my life, I have to decide whether to say, "Thanks, but we don't celebrate Xmas" or just keep it to myself. I know it will kind of embarrass the person, but I'm all about spreading the word, educating etc. But it gets old sometimes to have to be Jewish Ambassador To The World At Large.

Also, we just moved from NY, Jew Central, to Washington State, Nary a Jew in Sight. So I'm putting on my Ambassador suit and getting revved up to spread the word. We'll be having a giant Channukah party and inviting all our new friends who are, by and large, not Jewish. It'll be dreidels, gelt and latkes for everyone, but NO Channukah bush or Channukah Harry for me.

Why not? I don't want to be competing with Xmas. I dont' want to be borrowing from other traditions when we have nice fun stuff of our own. Truth be told, Channukah is such a minor holiday, only getting so much attention because of its proximity to Xmas.

We tell our kids that Santa Claus is part of a story that some people believe. (Uh oh, that's kinda the same thing we tell him about God!!) Four year old Sam will come out and say that Santa is not real. My husband says, no wonder everyone hates the Jews.

My inlaws are Catholic, so we have an interesting situation... we identify as Jewish, but Sam knows that some "Easter people" as he puts it, are in our family.

Hmm.. I think I had more to say on this subject, but....

Oh, about that place where the majority of people are Jewish. (Not Long Island.) I remember the odd but amazing feeling when being there, of FINALLY not having to explain myself.

merpk said:
Quote:
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.
I identified with this so closely. On so many occasions we've been met with this type of conflict. People don't mean to be inconsiderate, but they just don't THINK about Jewish observance. I am by no means "observant" but I have raised a fuss on many occasions when a professor wanted to penalize me for missing class on the first night of Passover. It becomes a personal choice, do I want to be Jewish or go to Band Camp? Do I want to be Jewish or miss class? Having to make this choice again and again has made me somewhat of a sourpuss about it. It's no fun to miss out!

My husband converted to Judaism and is not strongly identified. He often chooses to go to work on major holidays. He feels like missing work on Yom Kippur is asking for special treatment. He doesn't want to do that. He feels he is being irresponsible to miss work for major Jewish holidays. That irks me.

Have I gone on long enough? Thnks for listening. Hope I addressed some point, somewhere! :LOL

Oh, I thougth of one other funny thing. I worked as a teacher in an all-girls private Catholic High School on Chicago's south side. For many girls, I was the only Jew they had ever met in person (or even heard of). They were appalled that I did not celebrate CHristmas. They felt so *bad* for me! They thougth I was just ill-informed. "You know, Ms. G. you could have a Christmas tree if you want one!" Clearly, I just needed to read a few books, so I could know THE TRUTH! Such warm hearts!

xoxo pam
post #49 of 90
Quote:
Oh, about that place where the majority of people are Jewish.
Quote:
in the country where Hanukah is celebrated by the majority.
Quote:
In only one country in the world ... count 'em, folks, one ... can Jews say the majority celebrates Chanuka.

Okay, so why won't you say the name of the country?
post #50 of 90
Quote:
Okay, so why won't you say the name of the country?
Thanks for asking that IrishMommy -- I had lots of thoughts/comments as I read through the thread, but that's the only thing I *really* want to know!
post #51 of 90
I dunno, I was just going with the flow. Was there a reason you said it like that, Amy?
post #52 of 90


Was it needed for sharonal to bring those stats up?? Sheesh...was it needed for the snarky replies??



Is THAT what non-Christmas celebrations are about? Two wrongs making a right????





As a Christian, I have to say this whole thing irked me.....uhm....if you are so schooled in what it's like to be raised in America they you should respect the fact that Christmas today IS NOT AT ALL about the religious aspects of it. It's a friggin' Hallmark Holiday and there a few token pictures of a blue eyed baby Jesus (uhm...except he probably didn't HAVE blue eyes, but whatever) to make people feel better or whatnot but it's NOT a religious holiday anymore for the VAST majority of Americans and, as someone who DOES celebrate Jesus' birthday, I find it offensive all this claiming that it is. Our country is bass ackwards about everything, including holidays that were MEANT to be religious but AREN'T anymore.

That said...I *get* that most people DON'T get the meaning of Christmas anymore, and thats ok. Cause it's NOT about the birth of Christ for most people and I can't make it be for them. All I can do is teach what I want to teach in my home and hope my children carry that on later when THEY have kids.

As my high school best friend used to say....Merry Nuckin' Christmas. :
post #53 of 90


anothermama, I get that you're angry... but I am not sure exactly what you're upset about.

are you angry about the way your holiday is celebrated? I'm unsure how that is relating to the topic of Jewish minority response to being, um... minorities.

I am sincerely unclear, not trying to be a jerk.
post #54 of 90
ummm, I was kinda wondering the same thing! Anothermama, you seemed a bit peeved in your post. And like Pamelamama, I don't understand why. I hope you weren't offended by anything that was said.

Quote:
Is THAT what non-Christmas celebrations are about? Two wrongs making a right????
Noooo, I don't think so? But honestly, I can't really put into words right now how it can feel to be minority believer. I'm not Jewish (I'm Muslim) but I relate to everything that was said about this topic. Sometimes things are just a bit frustrating...
post #55 of 90
ummm, I was kinda wondering the same thing! Anothermama, you seemed a bit peeved in your post. And like Pamelamama, I don't understand why. I hope you weren't offended by anything that was said.

Quote:
Is THAT what non-Christmas celebrations are about? Two wrongs making a right????
Noooo, I don't think so? But honestly, I can't really put into words right now how it can feel to be minority believer. I'm not Jewish (I'm Muslim) but I relate to everything that was said about this topic. Sometimes things are just a bit frustrating...
post #56 of 90
Quote:
Originally posted by Irishmommy
Okay, so why won't you say the name of the country?
If she had a reason at all (I don't automatically assume so) mabey it was that she did not wish for this discussion to turn political, as seems to happen here whenever the country that I live in is mentioned. Israel, folks, its Israel.
post #57 of 90
Quote:
Originally posted by anothermama

Was it needed for sharonal to bring those stats up?? Sheesh...was it needed for the snarky replies??
Is THAT what non-Christmas celebrations are about? Two wrongs making a right????
How can I respond to this without seeming snarky to you?

I would hardly characterize Hanukah as a "non-Christmas celebration". I have a holiday at this time of year. It's not the "non-Christmas" holiday. It's another, very minor holiday called Hanukah. And it IS kind of about two wrongs making a right! It's a holiday about winning a battle in a war and regaining the right to practice our religion freely. The second part has always been the theme of the holiday for me.

I thought the point of this thread was, how do you deal with being in a minority. To me, being a minority is about what you are, not what you aren't. I like being in the minority here in the US, because we aren't a homogeneous country. I don't have to fight to preserve my holy places here. Nothing against Israel, now. But I don't think it's bad to be a minority. In some ways it's cool.

Quote:
As a Christian, I have to say this whole thing irked me.....uhm....if you are so schooled in what it's like to be raised in America they you should respect the fact that Christmas today IS NOT AT ALL about the religious aspects of it.
As a Christian, you should know that the history of your holiday isn't that it has become less religious and debased by commercialism. Until the mid 19th century, Christmas in the US and England used to be a very rowdy holiday, kind of like Halloween. Young people roamed the streets going from house to house, demanding nice food and drink. That was the reason that the Puritans banned Christmas. I read a nice history of Christmas a few years ago; later i'll come back and edit this post to add the title.

One thing Christmas and Hanukah have in common, besides the season, is that both holidays were rehabilitated by religious authorities to put God back into the celebration.

Edited to add: the name of the book was The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. You can read a summary of the history in the book onthe Straight Dope website.

By the way, I didn't get "schooled" in what it's like to grow up in the US. There aren't classes in that. I was just born here and grew up here.
post #58 of 90
Thanks, BB. And that's exactly right. Was trying to keep this apolitical. Not so simple, as we all know.







and anothermama, in re: what "non-Christmas" celebrations are about ... Jesus probably celebrated Chanuka, so you might want to find out what he thought of such "non-Christmas" celebrations as part of your trying-to-figure-it-all-out.

post #59 of 90
I really LOVE the word "snarky".

I'm going to have to work that into my vocabulary.

Snarkysnarkysnarky.
post #60 of 90
chelle: I too LOVE the word "snarky"...it's easy to sneak in here and there.....try it, it's addictive. :LOL


all: The thread didn't seem to be AT ALL about dealing with being a minority. I am one....when I talk about what it's like to DEAL with being a minority, it's not about being snarky to others and bitching about how the world wrongs me everyday. Feel free to bitch....I love a good bitch fest as much as the next person....but thats not really DEALING, yk?

All I meant was there was much sentiment of "Why does everyone push this CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY on me when I'm NOT CHRISTIAN". And, well, as a Christian, I don't think it's a Christian holiday at all. It's a Hallmark holiday and if you don't LIKE it, thats ok, but the reality is that in 2003, it has VERY LITTLE to do with religion and to keep saying so is offensive to Christians who DO celebrate the birth of Christ.

Living in America, I don't feel like Chanuka is a "minor" celebration at all. Everywhere I go, there is a Chanuka section of decorations, theres ads in the paper for Chanuka open houses at certain temples....sure, it's not as MUCH as Christmas, but it's not some minor thing that no one knows about either. It's a pretty BIG presence, and I live in California for petes sake. My old roomie from New York would TEASE us about the LACK of Chanuka and Jewish things here even!


Oh bah humbug.....maybe I should go back to bed.
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