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December 07, 2006

Comments

Mignon

Madeleine is almost 5 and still has no idea the Christian implications of Christmas. I gave her the pagan explanation, which she has intuitively latched onto. I've also explained that there was a good man born around this time named Jesus Christ and a lot of people celebrate his birthday as well. That was not nearly as interesting to her as the explanation of the solstice, which also happens to be her birthday. I can imagine tying The Festival of Lights in with a description of the solstice could hit all the bases you need to. But probably because of Santa and gifts, Lowell couldn't really give a shit.

Nina

My husband and I are going through the same exact thing. We won't put up a tree this year or lights because of our lack of specific religious beliefs and the whole commercialization of Christmas. We aren't very clear on WHAT we believe exactly but we do know for certain that we DON'T believe in the whole Jesus' b-day situation. We don't like to be labeled as anything yet so we are just 'free thinkers' at this time. Only time will tell what we 'evolve' into. ;)

I know I will tell my future children that Santa is just a story and that religion is something to be respected but not followed blindly. We aren't all shaped with the same cookie-cutter and our points of view should be respected just as much as the next guy's. I applaud you for going the 'different' route and talking about it so openly!!

LetterB

Oh don't applaud - I'm not to be admired. If my husband was a secular christian I'd be going whole hog. It'd be miles of plaid chintz, Clark Griswold outdoor light treatments, and eggnog for breakfast. It's actually a good thing that he's around to stop me. ;)

And Mignon - no doubt. I am hoping that he will at least believe in Santa. If I can get his father to stop rolling his eyes every time I talk about him there might be a chance.

Alex L

Why reinvent the wheel - there are more than enough relevant clips about both x-mas and hanukkah from fantastic sources such as Saturday Night Live (classic, not current, of course) and South Park to avoid this conversation forever. Just plop him in front of the tube and pop in a tape of the greatest hits - "Chanukkah Charlie" rings a bell, or if you want him to know about Santa vs. Jesus, well play him the original South Park - "The Spirit of X-Mas" where Jesus and Santa fight to the death over the meaning of Christmas.

And if all else fails and you guys cannot agree which tradition to uphold, I recommend ditching it all in favor of the best holiday mascot around - "...If You Eat Fiber On Christmas Eve, He Might Come To Your Town! Mr. Hankie the Christmas Poo, He loves Me, I love You, Therefore Vicariously He Loves You, He's Hankie the Christmas Pooo!!! Heidi-Hoe Children!"

I will now go light myself on fire...

Oh yea, Hi Lanie!!!

5penny

Well at least you still hae a couple of years to work out the details... Julia spent 2 weeks (2 WEEKS!) with my mom and now runs around talking about "jesus in heban" and when can she go back to church school?

And now with the Hungarian cluster of jezuska bringing the christmas presents, I feel I am raising a little christian without ever having mentioned religion.

damn sponge-like blind acceptance of a preschooler...

(OMG, the phonetic happy b-day was hilarious! haha, thanks!)

Jill

OK we are TOTALLY having the same problem b/c I am Jewish BUT my mom is not and we always had a tree, so we'll have a tree, but I don't want lights outside the house. The other major problem, bigger than the religion thing, though, is the STUFF! I am percolating a post about it myself. I really want to keep it simple just for the sake of the Earth and the checking account and the not spoiling the children (oops! too late). So I tell myself "only a few gifts per kid" and then I look down at my list of what I've bought and holy Christmas! I'm going to stop commenting now and save some of my few coherent thoughts for my own blog, but yeah, right there with ya.

Jill

Too clarify, because you are not in fact inside my head with me: I am Jewish, Jeff is an apathetic Catholic.

Noelle

I love putting up as many lights as possible to help starve off the long dark days. I grew up in a family that put more emphasis on the Christianity than the decorations, so once I moved out on my own I embraced the holiday spirit like a woman gone mad. These days, I'm living on a Christmas Tree farm, so that made the decision really easy. I'm already freaking out about how to raise a kid in the holiday time, and that's at least 5 years away, so I really feel for you!

Aaron

I think this one is easy, Letter B: I mean, Jesus wasn't born in winter. They put his birthday on 12/25 to bring all of the various pagan sects into the Christian fold in the centuries after Jesus. Likewise, Chanukah was a low level b.s. holiday for the Jews until we came to America and needed to give our kids something to do while the Christian kids were out of school and getting presents.

So, go Pagan with it. Winter solstice. Family holiday. Festival of lights during the darkest time of year. A tree in the house to make things smell good and remind you of nature and life in the dead of winter. Light a menorah for eight days and put a string of LED's on the tree. Or not. But light seems appropriate during a winter solstice holiday, no? Mix up the eggnog. Give the presents on Xmas (8 days of presents is absurd and monotonous and you end up taking it for granted when you get a present every day for more than a week) because, well, you're off of work and it's a good time to do it.

Maybe consider leaving Jesus and Santa and Judah Maccabee out of the whole thing. Or include them all. Or mix them up into a new story. It's not likely that your new story would be any less absurd than celebrating Jesus's birthday months before he was actually born (the bible seems to indicate he was born in spring or early summer), or including a fat, Germanic saint and reindeer in a North American temperate zone holiday during a time of global warming, or hailing the miraculous victory of a group of 2,500 year old Jewish zealots who, for all intents and purposes, were the Taliban of their day.

Yeah, this one is easy. Winter solstice. You need a holiday around 12/21 because humans since the dawn of civilization have pretty much always wanted a holiday during the darkest day of the year. So: lights and warmth and family and greenery and gifts.... makes sense to me.

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