I have struggled in the past few years with the holidays. Trying to find traditions that didn't feel hypocritical to our everyday kind of agnostic existence has been difficult. Especially when I have a completely inexplicable cheeseball love of christmas. I love a tree, I love love love christmas music, I love the food, I love winter and snow and and and! But don't identify myself as Christian. As an adult I tried to do christmas but felt like a poser which I hate, so I just tried to deny the christmas love. We didn't have a tree for a few years, not even for Clara's first christmas. We exchanged presents, and celebrated with our parents, but we didn't do anything in our home. I admit, I did secretly listen to christmas music in my car, but heck, I do that in July, so that wasn't all that strange ;)
I do *love* family traditions and with Clara's arrival I was eager to try again. I was raised Christian and a lot of my happiest memories are of our christmas traditions. Josh's mom is Jewish and his dad is catholic and he celebrated both christmas and hannukah growing up. I also love hannukah. The intimacy of Jewish traditions makes me swoon, I love how much of it happens in ones' home. Playing the dreydl is pretty darn fun, also I love fire, also the food- did I mention the food? We toyed with doing a little of both but it seemed so odd when we are not religious in any other way. At one point I gave up and decided we should just celebrate the solstice because it was a completely observable event- yay science!
But somewhere I decided that it was okay, that I can love a cultural tradition without having to love everything. I hope if I am mindful that we are borrowing some of these traditions that we can build rituals that work for our family and aren't hypocritical or offensive. So we decided to take the pieces we like- charity, trees, piles upon piles of delicious food, time with our family and gift giving. This year at Clara's request we're adding Santa into the mix, but I'm trying hard to avoid the whole naughty and nice aspect of it. It has always just felt like a way to threaten your kids to behave well- not exactly how I like to roll. So Santa will visit us and fill our stockings for the first time this year regardless of how many tantrums we have and whether or not we go to bed on time. Thank goodness, because otherwise my stocking would certainly be empty!
So in the next couple of posts I'm going to talk about what we like for the holidays (in a totally secular way.) Starting with the tree.