Teaching My Children about Every Holiday this December

ist2_4364427_dove_symbol_of_peace_on_earth

While driving my 5 year old son home from kindergarten yesterday, he pipes up from the backseat with the following question: “Why don’t Hanukkah people have Christmas trees?” “Well… uh, because your Jewish friends don’t celebrate Christmas…” But I knew my fumbling reply was simply not good enough. When I became a mother, I was determined that my children would understand as many aspects about this holiday season as they could. So after polishing up on my seasonal facts, I would like to share with you some information I’ve found online. I hope to teach my sons what this time of year means for children worldwide and of every religious background.

There is no doubt about it. When December begins in our country, it is very apparent that Christianity is the dominate faith as Christmas tends to deck each and every hall far and wide. My family is Christian but even I am often overwhelmed by all of it. However, as a result, it hasn’t taken much effort on my part for my sons to learn the traditions of Christmas. Most of my efforts have been recently spent on keeping their minds out of the Toys R Us catalog and into the spirit of Christmas – which can be a challenge.

Still, do my children know how other cultures celebrate Christmas? My son was amazed to see how differently some countries celebrate the holidays. And to hear that no, in fact, the Toys R Us catalog is not available world wide either. If you would like to educate your children further than the Toys R Us catalog too, I have found some very informative websites about how Christmas is spent around the world.

TheNorthPole.com
Santa’s Net
The Holiday Spot

But what about the other holidays celebrated this time of year?

Let’s start with Hanukkah. My son does have a very general idea about this holiday since he has friends who celebrate it. Last year, we had the opportunity to have my son visit his friend’s house, play the dreidel game and check out a menorah – and I hope to do it again this year. Here are some sites where we can teach our children more about this magical celebration starting December 21st.

Hanukkah Stories
Learn about the Menorah
Hanukkah Crafts
Hanukkah Coloring Pages

Kwanzaa, beginning on December 26th, is a holiday celebrated by many African American and African citizens. I have learned that each of the seven days celebrated represents seven important principles: Self Determination, Purpose, Creativity, Unity, Cooperative Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, and Faith. Learn more about this fascinating holiday at the following sites:

Everything About Kwanzaa
Kulture Kidz: All About Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa Coloring Pages and Activities
Kwanzaa Music for Kids

December also marks important Muslim holidays as well. People of Muslim faith take these days to visit with family, exchange gifts and enjoy a wonderful feast. While celebrating with your Muslim friends or their children, here are some important days in December to remember:

  • December 6th – 9th celebrates the Hajj which is the annual pilgramege to Mecca.
  • December 8th is Eid-Ul-Adha and this Festival of Sacrafice begins a four day holiday.
  • December 29th is Al-Hijira and marks the start of the Islamic New Year.

Here are some interesting website for children to learn more about the Hajj:

Helping Your Children Understand the Hajj
Islam for Children
Children Performing the Hajj

There is certainly a lot to celebrate this month. I hope everyone enjoys the start of a wonderful holiday season!

Cross posted at Type A Mom.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Educating myself, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Religion, Traditions

4 responses to “Teaching My Children about Every Holiday this December

  1. Thanks! I learn all about Jewish holidays from my friend over at. http://www.theangelforever.com/
    I think it is cool for the kids to see kids their age celebrating! “Angel” always blogs about how they celebrate and has pics!

  2. This is one of the many reasons we are so thankful that Bird goes to an international studies school (public school at that!). His holiday play in kindergarten will be about holidays around the world. All the dress up clothes in the classroom play area are international outfits. It’s so nice to hear him talk about something other than Santa (not that I am equipped to talk about much more than that!).

    Seriously, you need to move here so we can raise our boys and our glasses together! With that MBA thesis done, your husband should be ready, right? I mean who doesn’t up and move to a new state just to live next door to a bloggy friend they’ve never met? Call me crazy.

  3. ummumar

    It’s wonderful to see you make an effort to educate your children about other religions. I would like to clarify a couple of things. Eid al-adha will be on Monday Dec. 8, 2008. The name of the first month of the year is Muharram.

    None of the Islamic holidays fall within the same season every year. The Islamic calendar is lunar, not solar. The result is that the year is about 354 days long and “floats” through the seasons. So next year, hajj will come in November, then October, etc. It will be 30+ years before it falls in December again.

    Here is a site for more information. http://www.islamicity.com/science/islamic_calendar.shtml

  4. Ummumar – Thank you so much for the correction. I really struggled to find clear information about the muslim holidays. I really appreciate your feedback! If you celebrate it, I hope you have a wonderful Hajj.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s