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
easynews March 14, 2011, 3:33 AM

Hola! I’ve been following your site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

tmj treatment March 15, 2011, 5:50 PM

This was very informative. Keep up with good posts.

Butik Online Murah March 15, 2011, 11:37 PM

Excellent post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

מעוניינים לקנות מתנות לקרובים? וובסיט allgifts הוא הכתובת שלכם, עם עשרות מתנות מקוריות, שלא תמצאו בשום מקום אחר.

Elin Arlia March 16, 2011, 12:24 PM

This post appears to get a great deal of visitors. How do you get traffic to it? It gives a nice individual spin on things. I guess having something real or substantial to give info on is the most important thing.

Willene Daoud March 16, 2011, 7:46 PM

My partner and I stumbled over here different web address and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

forum March 17, 2011, 10:49 AM

It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing…

Darla Arcia March 17, 2011, 10:36 PM

This actually answered my drawback, thank you!

chat rooms March 18, 2011, 2:15 PM

When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

WorkmanDelores March 18, 2011, 6:11 PM

Are willing your research papers to be formatted quickly? That’s not a big deal! The custom paper writing company will manage with that expertly. Thence, why not try it?

which cell phone should I buy March 18, 2011, 11:35 PM

Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

SaraRuiz March 19, 2011, 1:28 AM

It’s not so simply to bring a very good custom written essay, first of all if you are booked. I advise you to notice buy essay and to be devoid from distrust that your work will be done by paper writing service

WEBB30OLA March 19, 2011, 1:29 AM

It’s not so simply to do a the best already written essays, especially if you are booked. I consult you to notice buy an essay and to be devoid from disbelief that your work will be done by essay writers

Anton Hirtz March 19, 2011, 10:45 AM

Just curious, what wordpress theme are you using as it looks cool?

Classie Satcher March 19, 2011, 5:46 PM

Very Nice web site. I recently engineered mine and i was searching for some ideas and you gave me some. might i raise you whether you developed the web site by youself ?

Discount Furniture Las Vegas March 20, 2011, 7:23 AM

We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page repeatedly.

mafia wars guide March 20, 2011, 8:03 AM

55. I’ve read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make such a wonderful informative site.

Cynthia A. Vaughan March 20, 2011, 8:12 AM


vigrx pills March 20, 2011, 2:17 PM

What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

nixon watch March 20, 2011, 3:17 PM

As many others, this is my first moment posting here. I indead like this website and read it pretty often.

Back to top >>