Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now the mad push for Christmas is among us. In our family we are Christians, however, I am trying to teach my boys that everyone has different beliefs and it's ok. I think sometimes the wrong message is put upon us during the holidays. Many people don't even know why they are celebrating, except for shopping and gift exchanging.
Growing up, I lived in a community that was primarily Christian. I had a few friends who celebrated Hanukkah, and a few friends who didn't celebrate anything. For the most part, Santa Claus was prevalent at school and possibly a menorah. We moved to a small town several years ago. In this town there is a wide variety of religious beliefs. All the different views are celebrated and my children are educated in different cultures. I am happy that we are part of a community that shows tolerance for all beliefs.
There are also many interfaith families in our community. We have friends who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. We have been invited to various family activities during this holiday season. So how do we respect everyone, but still share our gifts?
Something small that you can do, is be conscience of how you present your gifts. The retailers are on this trend too. You can find so many gifts bags, wrapping paper, etc. in blue, silver, white. I like to wrap my gifts in designs that can cross many traditions. For example, I have snowflake paper that is backed in light blue. This to me simply says winter. I also baked cut-out cookies in mittens and snowflakes, decorated simply in blue and white.
Also if you know a certain family has particular restrictions regarding their diet, be aware of any food gifts you may give. I learned this when I had my gift basket business. I received many requests for baskets where all the items must be Kosher.
This time of year is about caring and understanding others. Of course, we want to celebrate, attend parties, and give gifts. All I ask of myself and others is to be considerate. It's also a great lesson to teach the children. So, how do you celebrate the holidays??? I would love to hear your family traditions.