Parenting

Why we celebrate it all during the holiday season

Anchel discusses her family’s approach to celebrating the holidays.

Syona’s first Christmas Eve.

As I sat down to write this post, the news of the tragedy in Connecticut was developing. I put off watching news reports for most of the day because I was sure that it would leave me in tears. And I was right. Syona was the recipient of some extra cuddles and playtime today and heard even more “I love you’s” than usual. It was a sad, sad day.

Those people that were lost in Connecticut won’t get a chance to celebrate the holidays with the families they loved so very much. But the rest of us? We’re still here. Remembering those we’ve loved and lost ourselves, and even those who the world has lost that we never knew — like the recent victims of the tragedy in Connecticut.

Because the truth is that when you’ve faced your child’s mortality, there’s not much you take for granted anymore.

For us, that happened very early on when Syona was born. And for others that happens at different points and in different ways. And for those parents that are fortunate enough to not have experienced it directly, news reports of tragedies that take the lives of children are often enough to remind them that life is fragile. And that’s a terrifying thought, especially when it impacts kids.

That’s also why we celebrate it all. We’re Hindu so our holiday season really begins in the fall with several traditional Hindu holidays, including Diwali. We also celebrate Christmas in a big way, with several family gatherings, huge meals, a tree and lots of gifts, including ones from Santa. We wish our Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah and our Muslim friends a happy Eid.

I always wish people Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And the one thing left to do is get my act together and send out an annual Christmas card (maybe that will be a 2013 resolution).

I played Mary in a Christmas play in elementary school (yes, really) and my parents weren’t offended — it was a re-telling of the Christmas story and they didn’t see anything wrong with that, and neither did I. And though we don’t do it now, in the future, if Syona ever wants to attend a Christmas mass or service in a church, I would gladly take her.

I think how a family celebrates the holidays (and which holidays they celebrate) is a personal decision that has to be based on a number of factors. In our family we’re proud to live in a multicultural society. We’re happy to share our culture with others and partake in theirs. I think it only goes toward building a stronger, tighter and happier community. And these days, who doesn’t need some extra happiness?

How does your family celebrate the holidays?

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