Before I begin this post I need your help. I’m trying to remember the three things you’re not supposed to bring up in conversation at a dinner party. I’ve got religion, politics, and is the third sex? I can’t imagine it’s sex because that always seems to come up… but maybe it is.
While you think about that or think about the fact that my parents clearly did not train me properly for my inevitable dinner with the Queen (joke in my family cause my brother was actually at an event with her), let me tell you a little about RELIGION.
Well, I’m really going to tell you about our little family’s replacement of religion with tradition.
As you may have guessed if you’ve read any posts about my Nanny, I’m Jewish. Derek grew up with a confusing mix, but that’s his story and maybe some day he’ll enlighten you with a guest post. In the meantime, I can tell you that as an adult he has become a staunch atheist.
Our boys do not have a religious label. My parents are heartened that according to Judaism my boys are Jewish since they have a Jewish mom. My husband is glad that they are learning about science so they can believe in Darwin and the Big Bang.
And me, well I’m glad they have options and they’re learning ethics, morals and values that were first written in the ten commandments (correct me if I’m wrong) but have been around much longer.
What’s really important to me is that they know where they come from, and tradition plays a part in this. At this time of year with Christmas (atheist Christmas – again, Derek will have to explain) and Hannukah, we are busy establishing new traditions and respecting and incorporating some of the old ones from our mutual upbringings.
In my childhood home, we never had a Christmas tree. We celebrated only Hannukah. It was not really a big deal. We got gifts once in the eight days, usually books and some cold hard cash. We lit the candles maybe 5 of the 8 days and we usually attended a Hannukah party or two.
But now, with Hannukah competing with Christmas for attention, I feel the need to make it a bigger deal around here. I’ve decided that the kids will get a small gift from us each of the eight days. Tonight they got these:
And then they proceeded to fight over who would get which one.
This morning I made Lil D eggs for breakfast which is unusual for a weekday. He then asked if he would get a special breakfast on each day of Hannukah. I thought, why not? So we’re going to make that a tradition (at least for this year). Here’s their breakfast menu for the week (with my edits).
Day 1: Eggs and toast
Day 2: Pancakes (batter is ready in the fridge and frying pan on the stove)
Day 3: Waffles (will prep batter tomorrow eve)
Day 4: Lil D says he doesn’t need a special breakfast – this is the day of our Hannukah party – another new tradition!
Day 5: Cinnamon Buns, but I’m going to cheat with this recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Day 6: Freshly Baked Muffins
Day 7: French Toast
Day 8: Eggs and Toast again
Some other little things we’ve done to make Hannukah special include holiday crafts, general discussion about the holiday, and first night dinner at my parents including mom’s latkes. Lil D would not even try them but Lil C, ever the crowd pleaser, took a few happy bites.
So, to recap:
Tradition 1 (new): Holiday crafts
Tradition 2 (old): Family dinner with traditional foods and some dinero from the grandparents
Tradition 3 (new): 8 daily gifts
Tradition 4 (new/old): Hannukah party at our place – Mom’s latkes will make another appearance
Tradition 5 (new): 8-day special breakfast marathon
And when this is all over, we’ll begin thinking about Atheist Christmas. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep my five-year old -who doesn’t think Santa is real because the reindeer weigh too much to fly and because the North Pole is too cold and because of several other very logical reasons – from ruining his friends’ Christmases.
Any interesting holiday traditions out there worth sharing? Any families that celebrate multiple holidays at this time of year in interesting ways? Anyone else celebrate Atheist Christmas (we call it Christmas around the house, but here, we can call a spade a spade). And don’t forget to answer my dinner party question.