Post # 1
I first want to mention that i do NOT want this discussion to turn into a holiday religion discussion…because that can get offensive. I just want to know your experiences. Thanks so much 🙂
I posted this in Jewish but anyone please feel free to post. 🙂
Darling Husband and I do NOT celebrate christmas. I actually grew up celebrating but since I have been with Darling Husband we do not. We are not Jewish but we are thinking of converting…long story. i live in a small town that consists of probably 99.9% of people who celebrate christmas.
Anywho, I have not been celebrating christmas (and other christian holidays) for over 3 christmas’ now but my family still buy me and Darling Husband gifts, cards but tell us happy chanukah around christmas time…even though Chunukah was like weeks ago:) I have been at my current job for about 2 years so none of them knew me before. They only know me since i dont celebrate christmas. most of them still give me christmas gifts even though i dont celebrate. For me, it is awkward because i dont give gifts and so it feels wrong to accept them. although it is good spirit and i know they mean well it is also difficult opening christmas wrapped gifts. I feel very blessed that i have friends/family who love me enough to gift me for their religious traditions that involve giving to the ones you love. so, since this is still new to me, i am struggling with how to deal with these situations. So like i do with everything in life…i am asking what experiences you have and your thoughts 🙂
Questions for people who do not celebrate christmas:
Do you just thank them for the gift and leave it at that? Do you give christmas gifts to friends/co workers this time of year? Do you tell people that you know celebrate christmas, merry christmas?
Questions for people who do celebrate christmas:
If you give gifts to people who dont celebrate christmas…does it feel awkward to you? are you offended when they dont get you a gift back (be honest please :D)?
Post # 3
My fiance and I are Jewish but have friends who celebrate all different religions. Since Hanukkah is at a different time every year (and we have to check the calendar to figure out when the heck it is) we definitely Do Not expect our friends to keep up with it. In the spirit of respecting all religions, we kind of go with the flow. Although we are Jewish and it’s nice to receive dreidel wrapped presents, we do not need other people to validate our religion for us and don’t read too much into it. If you really want people to say Happy Hanukkah, it might help to send out a holiday card right before Hanukkah so people know when to say it!
For gifts, we give our Jewish friends and family gifts during Hanukkah. We give our Christian/Catholic/Christmas celebrating friends Christmas gifts at Christmas and say Merry Christmas or more often, Happy Holidays. Our not celebrating it personally does not negate their beliefs or excuse us from wishing them well. I have a big collection of holiday neutral wrapping paper, usually snowmen or snow flakes on a blue background that work for all different religions.
We usually receive Hanukkah wrapped presents (often at Christmas lol) since we’ve always been Jewish and most of our friends know. We also receive Christmas gifts and accept them graciously and in the spirit they were meant. We definitely don’t take santa/christmas tree/reindeer wrapped gifts as offenses, perhaps because we’re less sensitive to it than you and your Darling Husband are since we were both born Jewish. We’ve had lots and lots of years of practice dealing with people who mostly celebrate Christmas so we barely notice at this point lol. I would say myself especially, since I went to an all girls Catholic high school and oh boy was there a lot of Christmas there! When you’ve had to sit through four years of Catholic masses, a “Merry Christmas” seems absolutely wonderful in comparison lol.
Post # 4
I celebrate Christmas. I don’t know if this will help … but when I give a gift (holiday or otherwise), I don’t expect to get one back. I give a gift in the spirit of giving, not in receiving back.
In turn, if one of my Jewish friends gave me a present during Hanukkah, I wouldn’t be offended. I would be appreciative that they wanted to give me a gift to celebrate their holiday.
Post # 5
we exchange holiday gifts with everyone. just because someone gives you a gift doesn’t mean they’re asking you to accept jesus christ! it’s important not to read too much into things. i always wrap presents with neutral paper and leave it at that. celebrate the season of giving.
Post # 6
I definitely understand the challenge of Hanukkah and Christmas blending together as one in regards to gift giving and ways of celebrating–but that would be a whole different rant that doesn’t need to happen. 🙂
I guess to respond to the gift giving–gift giving (in regards to mutual exchange) is actually pretty minimal with me…for whatever reason, it hasn’t been that I exchange gifts with many friends–mostly fiance, his family, my family, and one specific friend (still not sure how that happened). And because they know me, those tend to be Hanukkah oriented gifts. Though, when the rare time that someone does give me a Christmas present, I try to appreciate it as a gift and say thanks, and leave it at that.
I guess the idea of discussing the holiday orientation to the gift leads into a bigger discussion of the celebration of holidays, which usually seems like a bigger conversation than I’d like to have with the type of person who wouldn’t know me well enough to get me a Christmas gift. If that makes sense…I guess a lot of this ties into feelings of being the Jewish person in a time of a holiday that is not often seen as a Christian holiday, and picking my battles about when it’s good to explain and when it wouldn’t be worth it. Plus, most of the time, explaining seems like it would take away some of the niceness of receiving the gift in the first place. Like, “thanks for the gift, but let me tell you why I don’t celebrate Christmas and why I should get a Hanukkah present instead…”
I don’t know if that actually answered your question…I hope it did. 🙂 And I can expand on my thought process if you’re curious. 🙂
Post # 7
I will speak to the “Is it awkward not to give a present back” part… It’s incredibly awkward for me to get a gift and not have one for the giver. So I buy very neutral presents, typically candles from Yankee Candle or something like that, and keep them on hand. It’s inexpensive and prevents any sort of hurt feelings. As far as the religious aspect, you could just buy “holiday” gifts; there’s nothing that says a gift given in December is absolutely a Christmas present. I’m not devoutly Christian but I buy everyone gifts! I get very much joy from giving my loved ones a little present once a year. 🙂
Post # 8
I am atheist, and most of my friends are atheist, agnostic or not-incredibly religious. Because my parents are also Atheist, Christmas is more of a secular holiday for me, I guess.
I give gifts to people of all religions for Christmas, because I don’t really connect it with religion I guess.
Sorry if this doesn’t make sense. I know that fundamentally, Christmas is a religious holiday. But at least here, in a big city in a liberal state, it’s not that connected.
Post # 9
I am Athiest also. My mother’s side is Jewish and my father’s and my Fiance is Christian. I have a respect for all religions even though I personally don’t follow one. I accept all gifts and give gifts in return as well. I do not feel akward when I am given gifts for a holiday, it flatters me that someone thought of me 🙂
Post # 10
thanks for all your replies ladies! it is so interesting to hear other peoples experiences. there seems o be a trend here……most people give gifts in december whether it is for chanukah or christmas (religious or not).
We DONT do gifts. we usually celebrate holidays as custom. For example, the giving of gifts for chanukah is a new concept so we dont do gifts. The only time we really give gifts is if we go on a trip we usually bring stuff back or birthdays or if we see something that reminds us of someone we get it. no one else we know really does this. it seems maybe they do but they hold those gifts and give them around the holidays.
I think that is where i feel awkward. it is not that someone is giving me a christmas gift per say….it is that someone gets me a gift and i dont get them anything. its like someone giving you a birthday gift and then when their birthday comes around you dont do anything…
oh, and i do tell people who celebrate christmas merry christmas…
I am not anti-gift giving its just not something we do 🙂 If you were my friend/family would you be offended?
Post # 11
hubby and i are Jewish;normally since the holidays are so close together, it’s just not really an issue. if someone were to get me something, I’d reciprocate. but we just don’t really do gift-giving anymore though–i don’t think i’ve exchanged gifts with anyone but immediate family in years, and even that is usually pretty laid back. the only gift I bought this season is for my 18month old niece. for most people though I think there’s just an unspoken “my present to you is you don’t need to buy me a present” kind of deal going on 😉
Post # 12
I have a good mix of friends of different religions. When given a gift I do think its rude to give the gift back, just say thank you. My Boyfriend or Best Friend is buddist and she still does gifts in december. Sometimes I give gift to just say thank you for all you have done throught out the year.
Post # 13
I think the best way from keeping people from feeling offended is just being very up front and honest that you don’t exchange gifts. I know it’s a little petty, but I would be just a tinge sad if I made an effort to get your a gift and you got me nothing.
Post # 14
@ILikePink: Thanks. Anyone who is close enough to me know that we dont give gifts and why. But this year at work some coworkers give me gifts that I am not close to so that was awkward. But i just ended up telling them afterwards. I did not want to ruin the moment that they gave me the gift 🙂
@15happyyears: I would never not accept the gifts. I really appreciate people wanting to include me in their holiday. That is a nice thought. We give gifts throughout the year….just because 🙂
Post # 15
I’m Catholic and celebrate christmas and usually give small christmas gifts to everyone I know. If I know they don’t celebrate or am not sure I do a ‘happy holidays’ card and generic snow man type wrapping paper. If they’re Jewish I give whenever Hannakuh falls. I have NEVER been offended to not receive anything back!!! People’s money situations are different. Here’s where I think the gray area is, and probably the reason you still receive gifts…
Hannakah is known only as a religious holiday, Christmas, however, has split. There’s the religious holiday, celebrated by believers as the birth of Christ, and the secular holiday, celebrated only as Santa and presents. I have 5 friends who are either agnostic or atheist but still celebrate Christmas as a gift giving time of year when Santa brings presents etc. So, if I worked with you, and knew you weren’t Jewish, I would still include you in my small gifts bc maybe you still exchange presents on the 25th and would just use my snowman paper and holiday card!
Now, if someone gives you a Yay Jesus card and a gift wrapped in Nativity paper you could kindly point out you’re not Catholic or Christian…otherwise just say thank them for their thoughtfulness!
Post # 16
I’m Jewish and I never celebrated Christmas, I do give my coworkers gifts for secret santa. One thing that annoys me when people wish me a Merry Christmas , why can;t they just say Happy Holidays