Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's in a Word?

Well it appears that 'tis the season. For overspending. For standing in lines and fighting each other for whatever the latest fad toy may be. For getting horribly annoying songs stuck in your head. Okay, okay maybe it's not so bad. Go ahead call me Scrooge but I just don't like this time of year. Let me explain, as you gasp, that I'm Jewish so we don't do Christmas. If I haven't scared you off then keep reading. I typically don't discuss politics or religion but this has been on my mind lately. Plus, it's not like I'm about to talk abortion here. Let me state that I don't mind anyone celebrating their holiday. I also hope to encourage my children to experience other cultures and religions as much as possible. However, it feels as though X-mas is often forced upon us. What really has been bothering me though is the hypocritical political correctness that happens now.  The catalyst for this post is the "holiday" party that our playgroup is having. The playgroup has ornament making events scheduled. All the kids are to make an ornament and then they will hang them on the tree at the party.  I'm having conflicted feelings about whether or not I want my kids to participate. I did take AJ to an Easter Egg Hunt in the past. Yet it feels different to me. A fake bunny is one thing. But Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. And it just doesn't sit right with me. On the other hand we have had a Hanukkah play group in the past. The kids made dreidels or menorahs. I appreciated the group's willingness to learn about our holiday. So perhaps I should do the same. I'm just really not sure. If I don't have them do the ornaments I know AJ may feel left out or ask why he didn't get to make one. I recognize that is my issue. We moved to Chester County knowing full well that we would be a minority. It is just a fact of life.  I suppose that the problem I have is with pretending to call it a "holiday" party. Let's just be honest about it and call it what it is... a Christmas party. That my family and I will be happy to attend, ornaments in hand or not.  

I'm adding a footnote here to tell you that I also find Hanukkah these days to be hypocritical. The advertising powers at be have made it out to be a big event and compare it to X-mas. The truth is that while it is a great story (if you want to read about it click here) Hanukkah is not a major holiday. I don't know what happens in other families but I can tell you that you shouldn't be too jealous of the eight nights of gifts. Growing up we got socks for at least one of the nights:)


Jill said...

Hi Jennifer!
I understand your frustration here. Altho Im not Jewish...I am still baffled at how the stores are forcing the whole Christmas thing already! I walked in a store the other day and on one aisle was Halloween and the other Christmas. Whatever happened to the days when they wait till AFTER Halloween to put out the Xmas stuff?!?!

Anyway...I thought I would offer up a thought here. As a room mother the last few years, we've run across the "Holiday Party" issue and planning the crafts can be tricky because you dont want to offend anyone. Have you thought about suggesting the ornament making be something that is not holiday related? The first thing that came to mind was bird feeders. Last year Kacey had 3 kids in her class that didn't celebrate any holidays and instead of excluding them from the classroom for things like that...we just planned activities that they could do too. We had each child bring in a pinecone and they each got a paperplate with birdseed on it....spead peanut butter over the pinecone and roll it in the birdseed. We added a string and.... yahoo....a birdfeeder ornament! :D The kids loved it and we also tied in the lesson in "giving" ...they were giving to the birds in the fall/winter. Just a thought!

Chin up! If I think of anything else I will let you know!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Just writing this comment now to let you know that although I never read this note (here it is almost a month later ) that I have had these feelings as well from the day it got announced and it was very disheartening to me to see ornaments as well as a Saturday event. . . hope you had/have (depending on when you read this! ) a great trip this weekend.