December Dilemma

15 Dec

Before Baby Beez was big enough to be conscious of the world around her, I thought we had the “December Dilemma” (how to balance being Jewish in a Christmas-focused culture, without your child feeling left out) all figured out– we’d have Hanukkah at our house, and share Christmas with Mr. Beez’s parents at their house.  We hadn’t sorted out whether Santa would leave gifts for Baby Beez at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or whether we’d skip Santa altogether. I figured we wouldn’t have to get to that question until she was at least 3.  What I didn’t appreciate was the trickle over effect– how much the December Dilemma would impact us outside our homes.  I’m thankful that we have an extremely active and supportive Interfaith Group at our synagogue, so I feel like we are surrounded by knowledgeable people who have navigated this course before, and can help us sort through these issues.

Today was Baby Beez’s daycare Christmas party! It was a Christmas party, not a Holiday Party, even though her daycare is very diverse– probably a full 1/3 of the class is not Christian.  Throughout the month of December the class does activities about Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  I suppose I could have made a stink about a Christmas party not being inclusive, especially in such a diverse class, but I try to pick my battles, and I don’t see the value about making noise about a party when the kids are too young to have any idea about what is going on.  I wish I could say that Baby Beez had a great time, but she got seriously overstimulated and had a meltdown.  Before the Meltdown (with a capital “M”) she seemed to have a nice time singing songs, dancing her dances and doing arts & crafts.

Curious about the old man in the red suit…

Do not like!

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5 Responses to “December Dilemma”

  1. elishevasokolic December 21, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    firstly, she is adorable! Secondly, I have too been thinking about this issue this week, I seem to have a stronger opinion than u do though! Feel free to take a look at my latest blog if you’re interested in my take on it. A happy Chanukah to you!

    • beezuskiddo December 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

      And thank you, and happy Hanukkah to you and your family!

  2. beezuskiddo December 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I think our opinions are more similar than you realize. My husband isn’t Jewish (and neither are his parents and extended family), but I am Jewish and our daughter is Jewish, so we only have Hanukkah at home. Maybe this is just semantics, but I don’t consider us to “celebrate” Christmas. We don’t put up a Christmas tree, we don’t buy each other Christmas presents, we don’t do Christmas decorations. We do “share” Christmas with my husband’s family– we go to their house on the holiday, we give them presents, etc. Tonight some non-Jewish friends came over to share Hanukkah with us, and I feel like we’re doing that same thing when we go to my husband’s family’s house on Christmas. Now the wrench in the works is whether we will be OK with Santa leaving a present for the baby at my husband’s parents house, and I really think that’s going to come out as a “No.” We’re ok with his parents giving her presents, but having Santa involved blurs the lines. (Also, FWIW, we take pictures of her on Santa’s lap, etc…the daycare party thing was a weird situation and I honestly didn’t know what to do with it)

    I’ve come across many interfaith families that “celebrate” both holidays– they have a menorah AND a Christmas tree…and I just can’t wrap my head around that. I can’t understand “having” two religions.

    Also, I just can’t understand celebrating Christmas in your own home if you’re Jewish. It doesn’t make sense to me….and I think it’s very confusing to children. I think that situation is a lot easier to navigate than for an interfaith family, because in an interfaith family, we do have to figure out how to deal with the other religion’s traditions, and try not to cause a disaster.

    • beezuskiddo December 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

      Whoops…That should say “We do NOT take pictures of her on Santa’s lap, etc…”

  3. elishevasokolic December 22, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Thank you for your reply, and the follow on my blog! I think we do have similar viewpoints! Kids are so impressionable, and they look to us to help them understand the world and what they should do and believe. It’s such an incredible responsibility and priviledge-why risk it?

    Enjoying your blog!

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