My Christmas-Less Life. And One For My Kids Too, Please.
I don’t celebrate Christmas. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and it stuck. Now my kids don’t celebrate Christmas. Or birthdays for that matter. When I was a kid, my parents always tried to make sure we had plenty of wrapped presents and parties all year round so we never really wanted for gifts, but it was very hard being different at school. It was hard to be the one who couldn’t sing the songs in the holiday concert or who was picked up early before the Christmas party began when you could smell the yummy cupcakes in the back of the classroom.
In the end, I think learning to be different, learning to be okay not fitting in and standing up for my beliefs gave me a alot of character and inner strength that has come in handy in my life—especially as a divorced mother of two! I hope my children will have the same outcome.
This year was a big year for them because usually I write the teacher a note or meet with the teacher at the beginning of the school year to explain why my child won’t salute the flag or participate in birthday or holiday celebrations, but this year, at 7 and 11-years old, I encouraged them to speak up for themselves.
What happened? Well, instead of telling his teacher that he doesn’t salute the flag, my 7-year-old was putting his hand on his stomach and doing a Milli Vanilli mouth movement during the morning pledge.
And when I went up to my daughter’s middle school for open school week, I found her singing all sorts of holiday songs in chorus, and working on dance steps to boot!!
I had to laugh. I was definitely reminded of the things I did when I was a kid trying to find my courage to be different. After a few more encouraging conversations at home, an amazing thing happened.
After my daughter found the courage to talk to her chorus teacher, she realized that there a few Muslim classmates who don’t celebrate Christmas either. They were inspired to speak up because my daughter did. And now they’ve formed their own mini-support group at school to get through the heavy holiday season. I was so proud.
My son is still a work in progress.
In the end, I teach my children to be respectful of all beliefs and to have the courage to stand up for their own.
Having said all that, I have to add that when I was a kid, I used to wonder what celebrating Christmas would be like, but as an adult I’m really starting to pity most of the people who do. The holiday has become so overly commercialized, people are stretched to the limit and stressed out. And I’m starting to wonder if anybody really celebrates Christmas--you know the part that's supposed to be about Jesus. Especially not the folks who were cussing and arguing at the health food store last weekend after one of the cashiers mistakenly took the wrong person in line. The lady wasn’t next. And the person who was next, let the cashier and person who took her place know in a whole slew of blankedly blank terms that she didn’t like it.
I’ve seen more than a few parking spot throw-downs in the parking lot, as holiday shoppers filled with so-called season’s greetings trade insults and hand gestures outside the mall. If this is your holiday spirit then I say no thank-you.
When it gets to be this time of year, I avoid shopping malls and anything that might be close to rush hour because people are more stressed out, on the edge, and more rude than ever before. I don’t celebrate Christmas or the Christmas spirit because of my religious beliefs, what’s everyone else’s excuse?