When you say the word “holiday” late in the year, most people will think of Christmas. And although this holiday seems to rule the December landscape, there are many individuals, cultures, and personal beliefs that don’t normally celebrate this holiday. 

Different Belief System

Christmas isn’t the only holiday in town! Many cultures and religions celebrate something different entirely, like Hanukkah and Kwanza. As a society, it is important to observe all holidays and celebrations, not just your own. Teaching your children to also know about different holidays is important too. They may be confused at first when they see someone not participating in something they believe in, and may be accidentally pushy. They may want their friends and classmates to join in on what they’re celebrating, innocently unaware that it may be a little insensitive. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate holidays, and will abstain from joining in any activities directly related to the celebrations. If your child isn’t aware, they be asking for the Jehovah’s Witness child’s participation, which may hurt their feelings. Be sure to let your children know about other holidays and traditions, and that not everyone celebrates the same thing. 

Personal Choices

Others may not celebrate holidays for purely personal choices. They may not be overtly religious to begin with, and don’t celebrate the holiday festivities. They may even keep this information to themselves initially, not really wanting to make a “production” out of it. It may be a little harder knowing who doesn’t celebrate the holidays, but you can always let your children know that this may be the situation, and to be understanding. A lot of families experience loss around the holidays, and may not necessarily celebrate during this time. They may be dealing with a lot of sad emotions and aren’t in the mood to actually join in on any parties or festivities. Be sure to ask if they want to be included in anything before the holidays start. This way they aren’t already in the season and experiencing these raw emotions. But if they are feeling like participating in a few activities, then they aren’t automatically left out, either. 

The holidays can be such a great, fun experience for families. Or it can be a tumultuous time, depending on somebody’s belief system. Be prepared to talk with your kids about the holidays and that it’s not always a fun time for everyone. Some people may want to talk about it and others won’t, so this way your child will know how to deal with holiday conversations.   

Katie Kyzivat