A lot of people think they HAVE to do up Christmas in a major way, or their children and family will be totally disappointed. And they have to do “Santa” because it’s part of the childhood experience.
I am about to disprove all of that.
My family is Jewish. We do not celebrate Christmas. There is no tree at our house. We don’t put up lights. And Santa does not come down our chimney. We aren’t the only ones. Remember, this is a Christian holiday, and anyone who is not Christian, does not celebrate it.
And guess what? My children are perfectly, well-adjusted little humans, who love school and the park and riding their bikes.
When I tell people this, their response is always, well, you have Chanukah and get eight days of presents.
First, Chanukah is not that big of a holiday for Jews. It just happens to be in December, so people assume it’s our “Christmas.” It’s not. We don’t even take off work, like we do for Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement — two of our biggest holidays.
We light the menorah and eat latkes. That’s it.
As for eight presents, I’ve always wondered why people act like this is a lot. Most Christmas trees I’ve seen lately have way more than 8 presents for each family member.
Plus, we rarely do presents all 8 days in our house. And they tend to be small.
But this year, I told my children I am not doing gifts for Chanukah. Instead, we are going to think of someone or a charity to help. (Suggestions? Shoot me an email.) My children don’t need anything. But many other children in our own community do. Just today, The News & Observer reported that the number of homeless students in our school system is rising.
My point in telling you this is not to say stop celebrating Christmas. By all means, practice your religion. I am, however, suggesting you don’t have to go crazy because you think your kids and family will miss out on something. (Think of my children, who have never had Santa.)
Instead, I invite you to focus on making memories with your children. It’s that warm, fuzzy feeling we are trying to create this time of year. And going crazy to buy more presents does not do that.
You know what does? Eating breakfast in your PJ’s on Christmas Day. That’s gift enough for your children.