Christmas fatigue.

Screen shot 2013 11 17 at 6.22.51 AM Christmas fatigue.

we misfit Jews decorate the husband…not a tree

The other day, as we walked home from school, the Tornado & I chatted about our highs & lows (<—–Ive learned that’s the best ‘get information casually’ time.  Our morning hi/low game provides insight into her world but it’s often “cleansed” as a result of not being as in-the-moment).

“I hate Christmas,” she said.  “And I hate being the only one in my class who celebrates Hanukkah.”

This being Oakland I was surprised by the second fact (which she asserted confidently & with no small amount of irritation).

I resisted, however, the urge to question her & did what Id have wanted in her shoes: I met her precisely where she was.

“I get that,” I said and squeezed her hand.  “I felt the same when I was your age.  Now that Im older like being different.  Im proud of the fact I celebrate and worship differently than lots of people.”

That’s pretty much where our conversation ended.

We finished our walk.

Chatted about our highs & grew quickly distracted by other more pressing matters.

photo25 300x225 Christmas fatigue.

nothing cures religious angst like scooter time.

Until a few days later.

We were driving with inappropriate hip hop blaring in companionable silence when I heard from the back seat:

Oh Mama. Im tired of Christmas.  When is it over? What day is it again?

First, as a woman whos lived through 43 Christmases, it *fascinated* me she had no clue what the date of the holiday was.

She knew it was coming.  She knew it annoyed her.  She had no idea whether it was tomorrow or weeks away.

Next I had more of an OOOOH moment.

A needed reminder that, for me, becoming unapologetically myself and embracing being different was a process.

That no matter how she might march to the beat of her own skull-emblazoned drum—she’s eight.

1157527 10152143230489466 1780325226 n 300x300 Christmas fatigue.

barbies & mohawks

And sometimes eight simply wants to be the same as everyone else.

She explained to me a few reasons she “hated” Christmas more this year than others and when she finished I said to her:

Celebrating Hanukkah is just one thing of many which make you special.

Without missing a beat, she sighed & quoted a line from our favorite musical:

And what makes you special makes you strong.


yes it does. 

I promise.

even if sometimes, at eight, it doesnt feel that way so much.


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  1. says

    wow can totally relate here!! i remember thinking the same thing when i was young, and like you, now i’m more proud than ever to celebrate chanukah and start our own family traditions with baby itz!

  2. says

    So wise. So, so wise.

    While on holidays this past summer, we made sure that every night, as we all joined for dinner, that we shared one of our highlights of the day, and why we were grateful for it. For all of us, THAT was our highlight of the day. To share.


      • MIZ says

        I offered to go in this year and she said NO THANK YOU MAMA.
        I struggled with that, too, (you know I longed to go in anyway :-)) BUT I clearly recall not wanting to stand out and if Id have to my mom NO and she came in and presented about hanukkah anyway—Id have died of embarrassment.

        so hard to know what to do.

        • says

          We have a 3rd grade teacher that is Jewish. She taught her students how to make and play a game with dreidels. It was so cool! Good for you for offering to come visit the classroom. I love seeing parents bringing their family (culture, customs, beliefs,etc) into the classroom. Such a great opportunity for kids to learn about one another.

  3. says

    she is so wise for her age.. must get it from her mama. I feel like Hanukkah and thanksgiving were mixed and bypassed this year. Which makes the christmas season even longer, ya know?

  4. says

    Oh, so precious! I am not suffering from Christmas fatigue because I am still living in Christmas denial. I will be at the mall this weekend. :-0

  5. says

    This is perfect! My son is different in a lot of ways that are easily noticed. I always try to explain to him that he was made special everyone else is ordinary but he is extrodinary! What makes you special truly does make you strong! What a sweet moment to have with your daughter. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. says

    Oh my gosh we have this conversation EVERY day lately. My daughter wants to know why stores have the right to play chrimstas music all the time. While I am proud of her for feeling so strong about her convictions, I also am trying to foster the understanding that it is ok for other people to celebrate their traditions- and that as long as they don’t force us to believe what they believe, we should respect the differences. Not easy though for sure.

  7. says

    My kids went to a Jewish preschool and I don’t think my son realized until Kindergarten that most of our local world doesn’t celebrate Hanukkah. He had a rough time.

    We started having a big family Hanukkah party every year so that my kids could share their holiday with their friends. I also did a classroom thing almost every year at their school which involved cooking latkes in the class, so that was awesome.

    And I totally agree that the best information gathering sessions are the casual ones.

  8. says

    WOW! Loved this & I am taking on that last sentiment – what makes you special makes you strong – she is so smart for her age & that comes from you & how you approach life & learning with her…

    I do get this though. I was the only Jew my whole younger life from elementary thru high school or let’s say close to the only one & I always felt different & left out.. it is hard for young kids & even adults – Tornado is amazing & you for how you approached it.

    So love this! Although I am curious about the other reasons she hated Xmas so much this year…

  9. says

    This is so interesting! We have such a diverse religious community here in Toronto, so I wonder if we have little ones here feeling the same way?

    But she is only 8. I like to think I had a pretty strong voice as a wee-one but getting to a point where I accept all areas of myself and my life is still a work in progress (and I am 29!). I would say she is on her way! She is amazing!

  10. Lynette S. says

    Love this! My Kid feels much the same, he is already done with Christmas. He mentioned to me the other day that he wished we lived in Israel, where everyone celebrated our holidays. The Christmas beast can get old after awhile.

  11. says

    It’s interesting to me because I do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, just the season. I love all the colors, the decorations, the TV specials, the festiveness. I do get tired of the crowds and wont’ enter the mall from Thanksgiving onward :D

  12. says

    Awww I can understand that. Even at 5 years old my son wants nothing more than to fit in. I love the things that make him different. Some day both him and the Tornado will too!

  13. says

    Because she has such an incredible example in her mama she will learn to be completely strong and independent!!!
    I feel like I’m often guilty of over-doing the Christmas thing. Last year we went to our very first Hanukkah experience (the final night) and I loved everything about it! I would LOVE to learn much more about it – maybe the Tornado could do a guest post and share her perspective about it?! It would be awesome!!!

  14. says

    This is very inspiring. It’s completely understandable that your little girl just wants to be like everyone else or fit in and it is even more beautiful how you have explained being different makes her special. What a great lesson.

  15. says

    Awww she sounds so smart and insightful. I’m a huge Christmas fan, but honestly I’ve always felt guilty when it comes to people who don’t celebrate. Like I’m in this huge club but my excitement makes other people feel bad that they aren’t a part of it. I would be annoyed by Christmas too if I were her!

  16. says

    This is cute. I remember wanting nothing more than to fit in. Kids can be unknowingly hurtful sometimes and just plain mean other times. She seems like such a smart and strong person. This too shall pass and she will shine bright!

  17. says

    What a smart young lady. I just love that response from her “And what makes you special makes you strong.” This attitude will get her far in life.

  18. says

    Even though i celebrate Christmas, this is one of the reasons i wish they would rename this Winter Break, just like we now have Spring Break instead of calling it the “Easter Holiday.” What we call it can make a difference.

  19. says

    Aww it’s hard being different in any way as a kid! She sounds like she’s smart and has a good head on her shoulders, though.

  20. Janis says

    I remember watching a PBS special about deafness in America and watching an interview with a fellow named Sam Supalla; his whole family is deaf, and they’re all quite accomplished literati in the deaf world. Since everybody in the house was deaf, they all signed.

    He mentioned once that when he was extremely young, he was playing with a little girl who lived nearby, and her mother came out of the front door to tell the little girl something. He watched their mouths move in fascination and then went home and asked his mother what was up.

    “They’re hearing, honey,” she signed to him.

    “Are we hearing?”

    “No, we’re all deaf.”

    “Is everybody deaf? Are that little girl and her family the only hearing people in the world?”

    “No honey, most people are like them.”

    He said his reaction was like, “Oh! Now, I get it … ”

    I guess a lot of people are strange and different and “weird” in one or another way. Many of us have to deal with being aliens in our own land throughout our lives. Maybe someday you can visit Israel as a family and she can see someplace in the world where everyone IS more like her and everyone says “Happy Hanukkah” as a matter of course?

  21. says

    Oh I love this and I love you. I’m starting to encounter some of this with my son – being different and doing things differently from his friends and other families. I loved how you met her where she was versus questioning or trying to convince that it was all good. PS I’m tired to Christmas too!

  22. says

    Carla, I so relate to this post and how your daughter is feeling. I was the only Jewish kid in my school grade for most of my upbringing in Columbia, SC, where being “different” wasn’t necessarily celebrated and not having an Xmas tree or celebrating Christmas like my friends did made me feel left-out. That didn’t change until I went away to college where there were lots of kids who didn’t think Passover was a football manuever anymore and suddenly people knew who to pronounce my name. :) I think your responses to her were thoughtful and beautiful and she is lucky to have you as such a positive role model and loving mom.