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To those of us not Yule-ly inclined ...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
... and who don't celebrate it at all ... meaning no tree, no nothin' ... how do you deal with your kids & the season?

Do they feel left out? Or do you feel that they feel left out?

Or do you feel left out?

- Amy
post #2 of 12
I don't want to offend, so if I do it's purely accidental, ok?

If you feel the need for a little lift, or you are afraid your kids might be feeling a little dispirited, why wouldn't you do something like celebrate the solstice?

You don't have to attach a huge spiritual meaning to it, it's an actual natural phenomena that means spring is on it's way. You could make your own traditions like maybe, tossing all the fall stuff and getting ready for spring, have a garden design party (Maeve LOVES to do this on graph paper, are we weird or what?), buy each other sun hats or trowels or sun tan lotion or seed packets or whatever means spring to you.

I like the tradition of burning a log through the night, since it's the longest one of the year, and you stay awake to see spring in. We do decorate it, with things we'd like to see go out (dust bunnies, dead leaves, one year I daubed it all over with mud cause I was sick of losing my shoes in it, a cigarette for a friend who wanted to quit) and with things we'd like to see come in (I confess, I burn a dollar bill, and some purple cone flower for good health)

We make our favourite dinner, which varies every year, wear our pj's, and generally just hang out withthe phone turned off and the welcome mat pulled in. : )

I don't think it's any sillier or necessarily any more spiritual than say, President's Day, or Fourth of July, and you probably make note of them in some way in your house, right?

Just a thought.
post #3 of 12
Moon, not that I am speaking for Amy or nothin'. But I believe that Amy does have her own traditions, she was refering (I think) to the overwhelming *presence* of certain other traditions, which conflict and confuse some children.

That is one good thing about living "BaAretz" ! It is all ours! Our Shabbat, our Chaggim! Our Chodesh. (Chodesh Tov BTW.

post #4 of 12
Extra-hard with a Yule-inclined family and a sensitive mother. Ds is too young to "miss" a tree in our home.

We had the whole fam over for a lovely Eid-ul-Fitr brunch this weekend. It went great! I think this is going to be how we manage the whole year--celebrate our days enthusiastically, and honor our parents in their observance...and then have long talks in the car on the way home, I guess.

I felt more left out when I was growing up, and I SOOO disliked the holiday season. Now I feel different and quite all right. Similarly to how I feel about "everyone else" drinking.

Oh--and our anniversary is the 23rd, so by rights I think I deserve a present around then, anyway.
post #5 of 12
Beloved Bird said, "Moon, not that I am speaking for Amy or nothin'. But I believe that Amy does have her own traditions, she was refering (I think) to the overwhelming *presence* of certain other traditions, which conflict and confuse some children."

*hands Amy the hammer and sits on the floor to make it easy for her*

I'm sorry, I read that as if you were saying you have NO ceremony/ritual/belief in which you participate.

I'm a space case today. I'm really sorry I was such a spaz.
post #6 of 12
There's a book called "A Solstice Tree for Jenny" which is supposed to address some of these issues for kids.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Moon it's okay, I appreciated where you were coming from ... Here's where we're coming from:

We live up the block from a local cultural landmark, with an enormous Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza, and more decorations. There are Santa Clauses every other corner looking for donations. There are windows filled with tinsel, nativity scenes, etc. The few TV shows we watch (PBS) have the inevitable Christmas storylines, too.

I've never had "left-out" issues. Always knew, "we do this, they do that." But DH didn't grow up with the same strong identity I did, a little mixed-up in the seasonal thing, and worries about the children. I think it's a virtual nonissue, because they have a strong self-identity and our home is completely "cultured." But at the same time, thoroughly appreciate that they can't escape the fact that they are very different. Christmas is not their holiday, and it's in their face.

Our holidays are happy enough, thank you, we don't need to glom on to anyone else's. It's just a question of how do small children, overwhelmed by the surrounding culture, deal.

That's what I was asking about.

- Amy
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

... by BelovedBird
... That is one good thing about living "BaAretz" ! It is all ours! Our Shabbat, our Chaggim! Our Chodesh. (Chodesh Tov BTW.)
BB, I hear you. Oh, do I hear you. Even a day off for Purim, for goodness sakes. Someday ...

Good khodesh back atcha ...

- Amy
post #9 of 12
I haven't quite figured out just what to do about Christmas when DD arrives. (2.5 months to go yet)

I swear our neighbors probably think we are pagans or jewish or something, but that's not the reason we don't decorate/celebrate the season. Mainly we don't because of few reasons.

1. Dh's family does not believe in christmas. They are christians, but do not recognize christmas, because they believe it is a christianized pagan holiday. That's their opinion and they are entitled to it.
2. I honestly think society makes it out to be too much more than it really ought to be.
3. I am not the decorating type...see little point in spending my time , money, and energy decorating and going crazy over the whole thing. I'm pretty busy.
4. I so hate shopping during the christmas season. Come to think of it I hate shopping period.

Occasionally, though, I feel left out. I feel I must go out and spend money on lights and a tree or a few gifts. Or maybe bake some cookies.

My mother is a christmas fanatic, though. She ususally has 5 trees in her house. We all go to her place on christmas day and have a nice time together.

I view it as a time to get together with friends and family, and maybe exchange gifts, but I don't go over board on the gifts either.

Come to think of it I don't get too excited about any holidays...they just don't mean much to me. I'll be interested to see how it is with a little kid in the family. Maybe it will bring back some of the magic of holidays for me, I hope.
post #10 of 12
For my older 2 boys, I don't think they even notice. Really! If they do, it is only to comment that it is not a Jewish thing. One of my daughters, however, is very taken with everything "fancy" and the past few years longed for lights. It seems less so this year, maybe b/c she is getting older (she's 5) and is in a Jewish school where they have a tremendous amount of focus on positive Jewish identity and at the same time realizing that there are a lot of things that we don't do that the non-Jewish world does, not just trees and lights! At the time, we just said, "yes, they are beautiful, but we don't celebrate x-mass" when she asked for them. I think now she has a longer term memory and a head full of Channuka parties, Purim costumes and Passover seders, so she doesn't feel deprived. She has memories of wonderful Jewish holidays and those are the things that she gets excited about.

Just a funny - When we moved to the US from Israel, ds#1 was 6. The first Dec. we were here, he told someone "we don't put up a tree, that's what they do in a 'smirch'" We had to put an end to that one but quick, lest someone think he was making fun! Poor kid was very confused about what a church actually was and what people were doing there - not to mention confusion about the name! So this year, dd#2 age 5 keeps refering to the holiday as "X-mix" (rhymes with "Chex Mix"). : It's too cute to correct her!
post #11 of 12
So, Amy, Mom2six, you pretty much nosedive into the culture of your surrounding religious group?

Our mosque actually handed Eid gifts out, wrapped and everything, to each and every kid this year. SOme newer members are converts, many recent , and even a family with small children. They realize they are going to have to get our activities to hold their own in an environment where kids go back to school and compare piles of presents. I was really pleased with the effort. At home, we had our special meal, and we dressed in our best clothes, and we bought ds a present. Didn't have to do too much, though, with his age. Next year, I'll have to get small gifts for each of us, and wrap them, I guess. Maybe we'll do our own family thing--like a candlelit meal or something special. Put up banners, maybe. I have a year to think on it.

For Eid-ul-Adha we'll do something similar, but perhaps cook out. (Yes, in WI in February...we're hearty people...)

It seems, the more I read of your posts, that the example is truly key. Be positive and enthusiastic, and don't deny what's going on, but talk about it, and what it refers to and means, and WHY you don't do it, and what you DO participate in...I used to think it was going to have to be ugly.

OH! Sort of off topic, but my holiday card from Mom said something like "Thank you for sharing Christmas with us. It's G-d's plan for us all to be different. Sharing and understanding is love. We are blessed to have each other..." Yup...things are changing, by the grace of our Creator!
post #12 of 12
UmmNuh -
I guess "diving into the religious culture" is what we do. If it helps you in your situation, dh and I were neither one born into Orthodox families. It has taken a long time and unfortunately much conflict (what do you mean you won't come to mom and dad's Fri. night anniversary party?!?!?!? and the like) for us to reach a semblance of peace with our families. I've been Orthodox for 15 years and dh for almost 20 - so it seems you are way ahead of the game. My IL's over the past few years have commented on how they wish that they had been raised with more observance - a major breakthrough! I hope you and your parents can reach an understanding that lasts the whole year.
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