Christmas is an exciting and magical time of year for children of all ages. But not for most Jewish kids.
Some of us at Mom•Logic were talking about how our kids get green
and red with envy around this time of year. And it's no wonder, to a
kid, Christmas looks like one giant party, while Hanukkah... less so. Here’s a side-by-side
comparison of Christmas and Hanukkah through the eyes of a child (scroll down for tips on dealing with Christmas-Envy):
Advice on coping with Christmas-envy: Although Hanukkah has all the time-honored traditions of Christmas, kids might not find the story of Judah Maccabeus as enticing as a Christmas tree decorated with giant candy canes. One Jewish staffer here at Mom•Logic remembers smuggling a tiny Christmas tree home as a kid, “I rode it home on the back of my bike, I even had a miniature string of lights. I would sit in my closet for hours and just look at. Luckily, my parents never found out.”
Christmas Envy is pretty common. Just ask friend of Mom•Logic Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, who told us her own 3-year-old daughter recently declared, “I want to celebrate Christmas this year.” Oy, Gevalt. But Rabbi Hirsch isn’t surprised, “We live in a Christian society, we are inundated with Christmas everywhere we go.” “When parents voice their concern that their child is envious of Christmas, I ask the parent if THEY also feel left out.” The answer she says, is almost always yes.
So, the key to combating the Christmas green-eyed monster, says the Rabbi, is to make Hanukkah your own, with your own family traditions that you explain each year and let the kids really participate (they want to help you cook, and wrap, and pick out gifts). When children have a strong foundation in their own traditions, they might still be interested in Christmas, but ultimately they’ll be proud of their own heritage.