Ode to the New Year’s Tree

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5 comments on “Ode to the New Year’s Tree

  1. Miriam Bat-Ami on

    This is a wonderful article. So informative. My new daughter-in-law is Christian. I have wondered about the tree. Their wedding this fall was completely secular with a guy who was ordained via the Internet. I think some members of both sides of the family missed traditional symbols and ceremonies. I must admit that I was relieved. Now, this Christmas they are off to Patagonia for a honeymoon, and no one seems to be exchanging cards or gifts. I am more than glad to partake in Christmas present giving but would also like even a FB or text message Chanukah greeting in exchange. I’ve received so many from friends. No doubt, this is an oversight and meant as no slight at all. I really like this new addition to our family. Navigating customs at this time of year is so hard. I totally embrace the New Year’s tree and have often sighed because I am surrounded by barren pines who long for decoration during the cold and dark of winter. I will share this with my Jewish friend who is like my sister. For years she has celebrated Chanukah and Christmas. Her husband has never been all that happy about it. Her son just bought the biggest of trees which they both decorated with glee. Yes, navigating the waters can be a very tricky thing, and a lovely New Year’s tree adds to it, but, if there is any times it’s right now that we celebrate diversity and an openness to new traditions.

  2. Lisa on

    Although…making Chanukah more appealing to kids reduces the level of “Christmas envy”– and therefore reduces kids’ future reluctance to “deprive” their own kids of Christmas. I’ve actually heard more than one person, already on the fence about a Jewish upbringing for their kids, say “…and-why-deprive-them-of Christmas?” as if this were a major consideration. Materialism happens anyway; and (assuming similar family incomes) Jewish kids are not comparatively deprived of rewards–nor should they be. When do Jewish kids get the bicycle, the electronics, the…whatever? If at least some of the major gift-giving (and home-decorating) happens in conjunction with a Jewish holiday, that’s a GOOD thing (for the future of Judaism).
    Not that parents should spoil kids, or spend beyond their means–and if you’ve got an hour, we can talk about out-of-control B’nai Mitzvah parties. The theory in THAT case is to highly reward Jewish learning and practice. And might it not be at least as effective to spread some of the “rewards” over the years, rather than dump most of them into one day?

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