Friday, December 26, 2014

The December Dilemma

A few days ago, I read a comment made by the creator of "Mensch on a Bench." He said he was "inspired by his son's elf envy." There are FB posts and articles about people feeling left out at this time of year.

It's so sad that people feel left out. But I wonder, are they so empty of their own traditions and confused in their beliefs that they need to observe someone else's? And why not look to one's own traditions for fulfillment? Juxtapose this to Keren messaging with friends a few weeks ago. She was sharing that Christmas was unimportant to her. Yes, she pulled out that old fall-back, "Hanukah lasts eight days, and I get presents every day." This has never been true for her. We open all the presents the first night. The next seven are just about the holiday, that is eating lots of fried food and enjoying time with friends and family. I called her on this. She just shrugged, and changed tactics. "We have a holiday every month," she typed. Then, with a gleeful look in her eye, she listed them: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur ("Okay, that one's not fun, except for break fast which is great!") Sukkot ("We get to build and decorate a whole building in the yard!") Hanukah, Tu B'Shevat, Purim, Passover ("That's my favorite.") Shavuot, Yom Ha'atzmaut, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Hashoah, Yom Yerushalayim (I think she went a bit far here), 17 Tammuz, 9 Av ("Those aren't so good.) Tu B'Av, and the entire month of Elul ("which is all about getting ready to celebrate the new year.")

There is a point in every parent's life when s/he must explain to a child that "This is Stacey's birthday party. Those are Stacey's presents. In a couple of months it was be your birthday. Then you will have a party and get your own presents." Why can't we do his with traditions and holidays. Just say, "This is Stacey's holiday. Soon it will be Purim. Purim is our holiday. We'll bake hamentaschen. You'll pick your costume. We'll go hear the megillah, deliver mishloach manot, and have a Purim seudah. Then, a month later, we'll be celebrating Pesach."

Love what you have. There's great beauty in every tradition. Embrace it. If you do, then there will be no dilemma.

We'll be eating take-out and watching the Dr. Who marathon on BBCA.  Happy (insert holiday here) to you!

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