twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Dear God: Can I Please Have a Christmas Tree?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This
My kid was caught in the middle of the Chrismukkah debate. Only, the debate was within himself.

boy dreaming of christmas tree

Dr. Michelle Golland: We were driving down the road in my black minivan. My son, Asher, was quietly sitting, staring out the window. Through my rearview mirror, I saw him shut his eyes and say it! It was said in the most innocent way that only a child could say it, but they were simply not the words I wanted to hear.

He said, "Dear God: Can I please have a Christmas tree?" Oh, an arrow through my heart. He might as well have folded his cute little hands into the prayer pose as he said it!

Believe me, his life began Jewishly, the bris with the whole family (okay, this doesn't include mine, which is not Jewish, but my dad happily wore a kippah and my nieces held the challah as we recited the chamotzi). So what went so terribly wrong? My son (see, I even named him a Hebrew name) is now 5 years old. This is the 4th official "December Dilemma" in our Jewish house.

We have recently been having talks about why we don't celebrate Christmas in our home. The standard rundown goes like this: We are Jewish, Jews don't have Christmas trees. Well, we all know that one of those statements isn't necessarily true. Okay, we changed it to: "We don't have a tree because we are so lucky to have Hanukkah." Hey, we get to light the menorah and open gifts for eight nights, not just one. With young kids, go straight to the gifts -- that seems to keep them off the subject, at least for a while, anyway.

I also told him that Hanukkah is about religious freedom. I explained how the Maccabees fought for all of us to continue to be Jewish, and we honor them by lighting the menorah and not having a Christmas tree in our house. I explained the miracle of the oil.

Not nearly as exciting as the miracle of a fat man coming down your chimney with a big bag of gifts. None of these explanations seemed sufficient for my little boy, who just wants to hang decorations on a Douglas fir.

I know what you are thinking: why is this such a big deal? It was just a little prayer to God. You must understand I have been working on my son's Jewish identity since before he was even born. I am a Jew-by-Choice and a psychologist. I know, my poor Jewish husband never stood a chance. My doctoral dissertation was entitled "Jewish Identity Development in Individuals who are Jews-by-Choice." You see, my interest is not simply emotional, it is also academic.

Asher's Jewish identity would be uniquely created because of the circumstances of his parents: one is a born Jew, and one converted to Judaism. I want him to have a strong sense of being Jewish -- culturally, intellectually, and spiritually. I don't think I am asking too much. I guess I have always been an overachiever.

To further complicate the story and thoroughly confuse my 5-year-old son, he and I were on our way to volunteer at a church to help them get ready for a big Christmas dinner that our synagogue runs every year. I told him how families who don't have a lot of things they need will be coming and getting great big "goodie bags" filled with shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, and the kids will get toys. Asher's only response after his prayer for the tree was this: "Mom, it's good they won't be giving the kids socks and toothbrushes because I sure wouldn't want that for Hanukkah."

As Asher and I walked into the church, hand-in-hand, the other volunteers were pulling out boxes of ornaments and strings of lights in the corner, where a naked Christmas tree sat waiting to be dressed up. In the aisle, I knelt down and said, "Go and see what's going on over there and I'll be there in a minute." I gave him a kiss on the cheek and off he ran to his friends that had gathered around the big tree.

I watched from a distance as my son began the ritual that I had done for so many years as a child. I understood his joy.

I thought about how, just five minutes ago, he had prayed for a Christmas tree, and I realized what he really wanted was the experience he was now having. As I walked up to Asher digging through a box of very used Christmas decorations, I whispered in his ear, "I think God answered your prayer, honey." He turned to me with a smile and a twinkle in his eye that only a miracle could bring about.

next: Feedback: Mom Versus the Photographer
199 comments so far | Post a comment now
mild hearing loss February 27, 2011, 1:46 AM

Hello.This post was really remarkable, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this issue last Saturday.

program telewizyjny February 27, 2011, 5:48 AM

Cool share it is without doubt. We have been looking for this content.

buty February 27, 2011, 9:07 AM

We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

hearing loss prevention February 27, 2011, 6:42 PM

I am continually invstigating online for posts that can assist me. Thank you!

Goji February 27, 2011, 9:24 PM

Can I use area of the information from the post above if I give a backlink to your site?

fishing lures February 28, 2011, 9:36 AM

Thanks for this wonderful article! It continues to be very insightful. I hope that you will carry on posting your wisdom with us.

Jonathan Hubbard March 1, 2011, 4:34 AM

Just tell you there’s a problem viewing your webblog running the most recent version of IE on windows 7, the actual text to the post continues going down the webpage like it is to small.

StarCraft 2 Guide March 1, 2011, 5:16 AM

Straight to the point and well written! Why can’t everyone else be like this?

noise induced hearing loss March 1, 2011, 8:54 AM

There is apparently a bundle to realize about this. I suppose you made some nice points in features also.

water cooling March 2, 2011, 1:12 AM

Resources such as the one you pointed out here can be very helpful to me and i also believe other visitors will find that very beneficial as well.

stages of beauty March 2, 2011, 2:42 AM

Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was questioning your situation; we’ve got produced some nice approaches and we’re searching to trade options with other individuals, be positive to blast me an e-mail if serious.

stages of beauty March 2, 2011, 2:43 AM

Could you email me with a few tips on how you made your website look this cool , I’d appreciate it.

watercooling March 2, 2011, 7:37 AM

Precious information and outstanding style you have there! I would really like to thank you for sharing your opinions and time to the material you post.

StarCraft 2 Guide March 2, 2011, 11:52 PM

I would like to take the ability of thanking you for that professional assistance I have always enjoyed checking out your site. We are looking forward to the actual commencement of my school research and the complete planning would never have been complete without consulting this site. If I may be of any assistance to others, I’d personally be thankful to help as a result of what I have gained from here.

student loans March 3, 2011, 1:15 AM

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

gold coins value March 4, 2011, 12:22 AM

Brilliant, cheers, I will bookmark you now.

yeast infection March 4, 2011, 1:59 AM

Thanks! Bookmarked the article for reference! — There has to be a way to generate an offline copy simply?

Aquarium einrichten March 4, 2011, 4:49 AM

I agree using the author that we need to share the knowledge we all gain!

Gregory Labounta March 4, 2011, 11:37 PM

I am not so perceptive to be fit to register cool stuff like you do but I am trying to pay it back so hoepfully this will give you a ear-to-ear grin or make you chortle or at the very least give you a thought for the day? : Hit any user to continue.

Wan Mikelson March 5, 2011, 2:20 AM

Great publish, thanks a lot for sharing. Do you have an RSS feed I can subscribe to?

Back to top >>