It doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative catholic or a liberal jew, it’s ok to have a holiday tree! Maybe some of us won’t call it a Christmas Tree because we’re not christian and we’re not celebrating the birth of Christ, and that’s ok!
This is just my opinion on the whole topic, but I come from a place of experience here and I can speak with some authority on the topic.
So there is a great debate amongst many families today on wether or not it’s ok to have a holiday tree, and I think there is a myth that needs to be explored.
I should tell you my experiences before I paint this picture for you. I am a “half-breed” in a funny way, and to that I mean that I’m 1/2 Jewish and I’m 1/2 Christian; well – not really but thats ok, it’s part of the point. Technically I’m 100% Jewish because I’m born of a Jewish Mother and that’s that.
My father is Episcopalian, and I’ve never been confirmed in his church nor have I had a Bar Mitzvah. I’m telling you this because as it relates, I grew up in a “mixed religion” household where we celebrated both Christmas and Chanukah. We always had a Christmas Tree and we always decorated it together; it was a family thing.
Back to the debate…
This seems to be a hot button for many people, but I’m going to break it down for you really easy – so sit back and relax, think about THIS for a moment.
IF Christmas Trees and/or Holiday Trees were REALLY about the religion of the season, then all of you nay-sayers would have a leg to stand on. But since it’s clearly NOT a religious thing, then you can’t hold anyone to that anymore.
The bumper sticker that says “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season” really says it all – I love seeing that one because it really encapsulates my point, and that is that nobody really looks at the holiday times as a RELIGOUS event anymore. It has no religious significance to 99% of the people that celebrate it today. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that xmas time has almost nothing to do with Christ these days, it’s more about Cha-Ching! However you celebrate, this “season” is all about commerce. That bumper sticker is a reminder that this time of year (for some) is supposed to be about faith; not a trip to a shopping mall, checking your lists (naughty or nice), or opening any gifts.
Once we crossed the bridge from a December with many religious/historical meanings and important dates to a place where we are all “Gift-Giving” we surrendered our relationship with the religious meaning.
In doing so, we’ve accepted that this season is really all about giving gifts just for the sake of giving presents. You really have to just acknowledge that this is just a festive time annually when people drink and eat to excess, and give each other gifts. So that’s it!
As this is a part of the “season” many people get a tree and decorate it with bulbs and sashes of glitter, and special hanging ornaments that are often symbols of our faith or personal lives.
If you’re Jewish you’ll hang a bunch of blue and silver bulbs, if you’re Christian you have red and gold bulbs, and if Kwanza is your faith you’ll hang things that are reflective of the “first fruits of the harvest” and whatever else you want. But that’s really the point! This is more of a FAMILY thing, an American tradition really. When you take a step back and look at the many different holiday trees in all of our homes, you see that while they can look a little different…they all look mostly the same.
Holiday trees are a reflection of our culture as Americans, and as a society on the whole. We’re all a little different, but mostly the same.
So it’s ok to have a holiday tree, and you decorate it however you want. I’m sure it will have some lights and some colorful and sentinmental ornaments too. No matter what you call it – Christmas Tree, Chanukah Bush (my favorite), or a Kwanza Tree, it’s all the same, and it’s all good.
I know some Jewish families question and often deny their children the joy of having a holiday tree, mostly over their intrepidation about the religious significance. Personally I think that’s a bunch of baloney but that’s me; to each’s own I guess. So all the nice jewish kids go to school and get overwhelmed with jealousy because they hear all of their christian friends talking about how their families got together and decorated the tree, hung up the stockings, and opened presents. This is a warm and fuzzy time of the year… is it fair to deny your kids that? Bah Humbug! Don’t be a Grinch! Unless you’re fanatical and ultra conservative in your ways (and you’re Jewish and you are against the concept of it…), it seems silly to not participate in this tradition.
That’s quite a pretty holiday tree you’ve got there. What a great time of the year it is. Happy Holidays to you!
I grew up with a holiday tree, and I think everyone that wants one should have one. It’s an American tradition for this time of year and really nothing more. Long gone are the days when it had some religious meaning to it [I’m not saying you can’t make it significant to you in your home], but the reality is that December and the “holidays” are nothing more now than an overly commericalized month and it’s fueled by product sales and marketers on steroids, and not so much from any church I know.
How many Holiday Ads you see on TV these days? Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday specials!! Sound familiar?
How many TV spots do you see for your local church or place of worship, asking you to stop by and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? I haven’t seen one.
Assuming all that I’m saying is true (and of course it is), one can easily say that if you are evaluating wether or not to have a holiday tree, make that decision based on your faith, your family traditions, and what your kids want. After all, it’s all about the kids right?
I’m raising my kids in the Jewish faith, but we have a holiday tree. My wife is Christian and she grew up with a tree, and so did I. End of story! Take a look at our holiday tree pictured here, isn’t it nice?
PS – On a side note…
We just got ourselves a pre-lit artificial tree, I got it from someone on Craigslist for $40. I grew up with a real tree every year, so I’m kind of breaking tradition a little (Ok a lot), but that’s ok too. We just relocated and are starting over, so in looking at buying a tree this year, we made a jump to an artificial one based on finance.
Once I added up some of the costs of doing a real tree: $10 for the tree stand/base, $45 for a decent tree on most any lot, $20 on lights, Ace$$ories, etc. I’m already at $100 that I can’t afford. So for $40, I’m giggling! It already has the lights in it, and it came with a big storage bag. I think where I’m at now, if we use this for the next few years we’re mint. If I can buy more stuff for my wife and kids because I didn’t spend a ton on the tree itself – PRICELESS. Besides that, it looks cool and it’s huge!
My kids can’t wait for Christmas day! And to them it’s all about presents, and it has nothing to do with religion. My son Miles even made a funny last year in the Synagogue, where he said his name was “Santa” LOL – gotta love kids. The only thing that matters to me is that my kids are happy.
By Louis Wing
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