WORD TO THE WISE: THIS POST MAY OFFEND THE DEEPLY RELIGIOUS. THIS IS NOT MY INTENT, I AM WORKING THROUGH HOW I WANT TO CELEBRATE THIS SEASON WITH MY FAMILY. ALL OPINIONS ARE WELCOME, BUT DISPARAGEMENT OF OTHERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
The Holiday Season is upon us and in full swing. Thanksgiving is a long forgotten memory as we get down to the nitty gritty of the season. I really like this time of year with all the decorations and general good cheer. However it also comes with it's own set issues. These can range all over the map. Some people get depressed around this time of year, others wonder how they are going to afford it, while others wonder how to celebrate.
I guess I sort of fall into the last camp. I mean we know how to celebrate the holiday in the traditional sense, but I am wondering how my little family and I are going to celebrate it in the coming years. I was brought up Roman Catholic with all the trappings surrounding this time of year. Advent, confession and a lot of masses and chapel to go to. My wife wasn't brought up in any specific religion and her family I guess could be categorized as celebrating the consumerized version of the holiday.
Both of us now are atheists which leads us to celebrating how she's always celebrated the holiday. However I have some misgivings about this. While not religious any any sense any more I still would like to keep some of the original meaning of this season to convey to little Jack as he gets older, but not I'm not really sure how to go about it (hell, as you can see I'm trying really hard not to even say Christmas and just say holiday so I'm clearly conflicted).
I want him to know why this time of year is celebrated, but not necessarily indoctrinate him in any religion. I would like to treat this time of year like we treat the 4th of July. As an event that happened, but not something our family worships like some of his friends and family members might.
I think this is the approach we are most likely to take in the coming years. We will treat Christmas itself like a historical event, without any of the religious trappings that go along with it. I think that if we frame it this way and teach Jack that many people all over the world worship this holiday and why they do so. At the same time I think I'll have to figure out something as to why we don't without going to esoteric for him. Religion is a weighty topic that I think should be breached slowly with little kids. There are many approaches on how to do that, and this time of year helps with that.
Then there's old Santa Clause and how he fits into the mix. There's a whole host of traditions we could follow from Sinterklaas to St. Nick. I think for sanity's sake I'll stick with good ol' Coca-Cola Santa Claus (what you didn't know our current Santa is a product of Coca-Cola marketing? Sorry Virginia). All of the confusion has been take out of him and he's pretty safe. I can also craft a message of giving around him pretty easily that will hopefully stick as Jack gets older. Plus he's the one that's pretty much everywhere anyway.
I want Jack to respect others beliefs without becoming bogged down in them. I want Jack to understand why people all over the world celebrate this time of year and how we can participate in the spirit of the holiday without having to be religious. I want him to be a good boy that will grow into a good man which would be the best present he could give his old man.
So given all of the religious, non religious and cultural holiday offerings, which ones do you and your families follow? Are you traditional? Do you just do what you did when growing up or have you new traditions you are creating? I look forward to hearing about them in comments!
Last Successful Meal
Grilled cheese sandwich
Fresh blueberries in strawberry, banana, oatmeal yogurt
Current Favorite Reads
My Little Car (Mi Carrito) by Gary Soto
Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Batman: The Brave and the Bold by J. Torres
Olivia Helps With Christmas by Ian Falconer