Why Its Ok For Everyone To Have A Holiday Tree

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!

Jerry Seinfeld on Hanukkah Bushes for Jewish Families
Jerry Seinfeld on his life experience with a Hanukkah Bush, great perspective as a Jew relating to the holidays in America

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.

Luis and Jaquaan are back, and this time they’re teaching you how to decorate your Hanukah bush. The best part is the end, when the non-Jewish actor spits out an impressive amount of Hebrew.

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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About Louis Wing 68 Articles
I talk about this, that, and the other stuff. I have to admit I may ramble on and on... but I am usually driving to a point. Educated and street-smart, I like my beats downtempo. Read more about Louis Wing

1 Comment on Why Its Ok For Everyone To Have A Holiday Tree

  1. So much great commentary and opinions on this one!

    I just saw a post about Ben Stein and his take on “Holiday Trees” and I think it’s a riot! (Read below)

    ——-

    Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America.

    The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

    My confession:

    I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

    It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

    I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

    Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

    In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

    Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

    In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

    Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

    Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

    Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

    Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

    Are you laughing yet?

    Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

    Pass it on if you think it has merit.

    If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

    My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

    Ben Stein

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