Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dreidels, Christmas trees, and faith

I think I have some small idea what parents of Jewish preschoolers go thru come Christmas time and probably Easter time come to think of it.

Dash-1's nursery school devoted class to learning about Hanukkah earlier this week. They read stories, sang some songs and he came home with a little dreidel. And while I'm no expert, I'm guessing there are more words to the song then just "dreidel dreidel I made it out of clay, dreidel dreidel dreidel" over and over again.

His recent lessons in Hanukkah has opened up new doors for his little three year old mind. I think this is wonderful, really I do, but now I'm left fielding some questions from him that I didn't really see coming. Not yet anyways.

"Do we celebrate Hanukkah?" "Why aren't we Jewish?" "How come we don't have a Menorah?"

Our real favorite around here is when he spins to play with his dreidel and then asks us what it has landed on. Neither flyboy and I are up to speed on reading Hebrew.

That's all that's on the dreidel.

I hope someone doesn't read this post and think that I have a problem with my son learning new things. I don't, I think its great that he is learning about new things and soaking them up like a sponge, something as simple as a little exposure in a nursery school class can go a long way in raising more aware kids. That is certainly not lost on me.

As I was driving home from picking him up and finding myself repeatedly answering, "I don't know dear, I'll have to google that." I felt for those parents who are fielding questions about Christmas tree's and the baby Jesus and who feel like they are navigating murky waters.

Man, it's rough when your three year old is making you sweat. It's also a little scary that a three year old knows what google is. But I drift.

It's interesting though, in describing to Dash-1 why we don't celebrate other holidays and the reasons behind the ones we do, I'm feeling a bit closer to my own religion and faith. For the past few months I've felt more of a move to get back to religion. I'm not going to lie, having small (read: loud and active) kids, being solo on more weekends I'd care to be, and having a tough time finding a church up here to call home, I've been what some would call truant from sunday services. But I'm feeling now more then ever drawn back to my faith.

Now the whole PC thing is to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I realize that for some this time of year doesn't have religious significance and for others it has religious significance different then mine.

That's fine.

But for me this time of year is helping me to refocus, refocus to my beliefs and what I hold to be really meaning of Christmas. And for me there is no escaping where God and the Lord fit into all that.

I read a post a couple months back written by a hilariously funny blogger who was being quite serious and going thru something similar but yet on the opposite side with her young son and her own strong feelings for her religion. Of course her son wanted to know why they couldn't have a Christmas tree.

Suzie, my friend, you have my son over to play dreidel and your son can come over and check out our tree.


  1. Lol, I've been feeling very much the same way lately, and I'm glad. It's easy to drift when everyday life is SO hectic, but really, that's when I end up missing it the most. Faith is really the only thing (besides Prozac or wine... Ha!) that can calm this girl down.

  2. Great, great post! Something I never thought about...

    Seems like he will be one smart kid because I never leared about Hanukkah growing up.

  3. I certainly didn't get the impression that you were upset your child was experiencing another religion. You just sounded confused, as I would be too. Maybe if there are Jewish children in the class and you know the parents, your little one could ask them his questions? Play date? Do people still do play dates?

  4. Sounds good. I'll answer your sons questions you can answer mine. I can cook up some good latkas too.

  5. i love that our kids will truly grow up knowing that mom/dad don't always have the answers, but google does :)

    happy holidays friend!

  6. Loved the post! I remember being in first grade and learning about Hanukkah. We also got dreidels, sang the song and we even got to eat some latkas.

    Maybe theres some type of kids movie out there that explains Hanukkah more for Dash-1.

  7. good thoughts. some of our best friends are jewish, and so we've been having conversations about differences & similarities since Goosey was 2 - which has made it easier. But we've yet to get to the really complicated stuff. on a very elementary level there is an elmo video about the holidays that discusses Christmas, Hannukah & Kwanza my kids love it!

  8. As someone who celebrates Chanukah, I can honestly say that I much prefer that people say Merry Christmas to each other and to me, and then, in my case, get redirected to Happy Holidays, then go right to the bland. I mean let's all take back our holidays and proclaim them.

    Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, oh dreidel I shall play.


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