There is always a time when we feel a little left out. For some reason, we can not join in despite our desire. I remember in my elementary school we used to have assemblies once a month. Part of the assembly included those who had a birthday that particular month coming up on the stage. While on stage, the birthday boys and girls would do the hokey pokey. Well, I have a summer birthday, so I never got to go on stage and do the hokey pokey. I felt left out.
For all its niceties, this time of the year can be one where some feel left out. As a Jew living in a predominantly Christian nation, I am a minority. I am proud of who I am and do not mind being a minority (I do wish I could fill that in when taking surveys – shouldn’t I be entitled to certain benefits or at least get to acknowledge my background you know like Native Americans, American Samoans, and African Americans, and other minorities). However at this time of the year with the perpetual bombardment of advertising, music, and television shows about Christmas and Santa Claus, it can be challenging for children. As a child, I remember my mother answering my queries about Santa Claus with, “We don’t need Santa Claus. I bring you presents.” When I broke the news that Santa wasn’t real to a neighbor down the block, he was incredulous. Anyway, as I got older and the left out feeling became more a feeling of boredom on Christmas Eve, my mom made a little party with snacks for my brother and me.
My younger son has a book which I recently read to him called The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff. In the story, while making holiday decorations, a Jewish girl recognizes that she is the only Jew in her elementary school class. She creates the only one club and everyone wants to join, so they each find one thing in which they are the only one. One purpose of the book seems to be to help kids appreciate the differences they have and differences in other kids. While my son enjoys the book, he still seems to feel left out in regards to Santa Claus and Christmas. He asked my wife, “How long are we going to be Jewish?” We keep trying to tell him that he gets presents and all the fun things about Channukah but in reality verse television, television is winning.
Well to those celebrating the holiday, I hope you enjoy it. For those of us who are minorities, I hope you enjoy what you have. Now, if I could only convince my son that Channukah isn’t going anywhere, I may be in luck.