How do you explain why INC members don’t celebrate certain holidays like Halloween and Christmas?
Listen to the experiences of real moms on this podcast.
BERNIE, HOST: You’re listening to faith and family, a Christian Family community that aims to provide Christian family advice and promote Christian family values. I’m Bernie Rosquites. As members of the Church of Christ we uphold beliefs which guild both our public and our personal lives but how do we teach that to our kids when it means taking away seemingly fun and widely accepted holidays and perhaps alienating them from their peers? What do we say to our kids when it comes to explaining why members of the Church of Christ don’t celebrate events like Halloween or Christmas? And what do we tell the grown ups around them? With me today to talk about all of this is Emerick Harrow, Jewel Buenavista, and Mar Gutierrez. Welcome back ladies.
EVERYONE: Hello .
BERNIE, HOST: Hello?
BERNIE, HOST: Okay, hahaha. So holidays are just around the corner, literally one of them is literally just around the corner. Now for you ladies are there holidays is there a particular holiday that your kids ask the most questions about?
EMERICK: I got to them before anybody else could, I would tell them.
BERNIE, HOST: You got to, yeah.
EMERICK: Yeah with the holidays was, what it was called and I would always tell them it’s a celebration of a fake god and God will be mad at us if we do that so we don’t do that.
JEWEL: There was a time that it was during Halloween that Jasmine she was like only three or four we had to go somewhere during October 31st so we had brought her to my in laws and then she comes home, she’s like Oh my God! Halloween
JEWEL: is so much fun
JEWEL: and then we were like: why what happened what did you do? We don’t celebrate Halloween. And she’s all: I know, I know but we had so much fun giving out candy and you know. And so and for me and Harry its was like okay we explained to her and then of course we had to remind our in laws that we don’t celebrate Halloween.
JEWEL: but now it was just kinda that one time but then now it’s honestly not
BERNIE: It’s not a big deal?
JEWEL: it’s not
BERNIE, HOST: How about you Mar?
MAR: Uhmm okay now I feel bad
BERNIE, HOST: I was gonna say you dress your son up like woody
MAR: when the costumes go on sale
BERNIE, HOST: You know I have to say I have done that, when a costume goes on sale
MAR: I know your son loves to dress up right? Yeah that’s not Halloween right?
BERNIE, HOST: mhmm, no. He knows it.
MAR: yeah I got my daughter I think she had caught when she was really small she had watched I think Polar Express are you guys familiar with that movie?
MAR: yeah so she saw it on TV but she was really young, we’re talking like
two or three and I was like awh man! You know? Cuz she was like it was so magical for her you know what I mean and I unfortunately didn’t get to her before it got to her. So I had to explain to her, well you know I had to be kinda the bad guy. I was the parent that was like; well I don’t know Santa doesn’t really exist you know. And like this is what Christmas is but we don’t do that as members of the church of Christ and it was hard for her you know? Now she
BERNIE: did she ask questions?
MAR: she did and for awhile she would say like because she was only three you know?
MAR: and I would say do you understand? Yeah she’ll be all like yeah. But then she’ll be all like but, yes but can I still get presents but I’m not celebrating you know? Yeah but can I, she’ll ask like it was like a jumble of questions can I still have hot chocolate? Yes you may have hot chocolate. Can we still go to places with snow? Yes we can still go to places with snow.
BERNIE: That’s too cute
MAR: you know what I mean?
BERNIE: That is adorable
MAR: and then she was, are you sure that Santa doesn’t exist.
BERNIE: because last I checked he was giving out gifts
MAR: I know because I just saw him at the mall you know?
MAR: it was a little hard I wish I had gotten to it before it did you know I thought that because she was two or three it as too soon anyway because they weren’t at school, blah blah blah. But I was wrong you know what I mean it’s true like they are these Holidays are being marketed so early you know it’s in their programming, their television programming
BERNIE, HOST: yeah
MAR: it’s in commercials it’s everywhere.
BERNIE, HOST: Girl if you go to Starbucks everything is pumpkin flavored, pretty soon it’s gonna be mint flavored.
MAR: I know.
BERNIE, HOST: Everything is based on those things, it’s unavoidable. Now are there special things that you do to avoid the inevitable exclusion of their peers? I know a few parents who when for example, when it’s Halloween they have their, their school has their Halloween parade, some of these parents I’m not saying it’s wrong or right, but some of these parents, they don’t bring them. They exclude them from school just so they don’t have to see any of it or there are some who take them out to the movies while the other kids are trick or treating or give new years presents instead of Christmas presents. Do you do any of that?
EMERICK: I used to when I used to be a stay at home mom I was a stay at home mom for a while. During Halloween I would volunteer at the school to take care of those kids who don’t celebrate.
MAR: awh that’s awesome
EMERICK: Because you know
JEWEL: I think it’s a great idea I think I wanna do that
BERNIE, HOST: that’s an amazing idea, that’s a great idea
EMERICK: Because we’re not the only ones who don’t celebrate now if we were then
BERNIE: that’s true
EMERICK: I would probably be like, it’s okay kid we’re not going to school or something else to say. But I would volunteer, I would talk to the principle and say do you have other kids who don’t celebrate Halloween, so it would be offered to the teachers if there were any kids who you know it’s against their beliefs to go out and do the parade or whatever. Mrs. Hara will take all those kids to the library and make paper airplanes; we would do a little science lesson and have a lot of fun and I would do that every year with my kids.
MAR: Oh you made a community for those kids I love it
JEWEL: I love that idea
BERNIE, HOST: I love that. I mean that is-
JEWEL: I mean when Aiden was in TK so TK what is that?
JEWEL: Yeah the Transitional Kindergarten he was five years old so during the Christmas time the teacher took us to the side and said oh can I speak to you real quick and then she was like I know you guys don’t celebrate Christmas but Haiden has to stop telling everybody that Santa is not real.
BERNIE, HOST: See I’m afraid that’s what my son’s going to do
EMERICK: I’m about to have a special conversation with my kids about that
JEWEL: yeah and so of course we had to Haiden you can’t you still have to respect
EVERYONE: Right, yes
JEWEL: so but in a way I’d rather him be confident that way and tame him down versus like he’s embarrassed to be the out cast you know what I’m saying? And I think that’s what parents need to, when I was a children’s worship service teacher I would purposely ask the kids during service because I feel like kids need to embrace being different you know?
BERNIE, HOST: Correct
JEWEL: and I don’t think we should dance around the topic you know what I mean? So we could sugar coat their feelings? No I feel like we need to I feel like we need to teach them how to be confident.
EMERICK: I feel like believing in those you know things like Santa Clause and the tooth fairy, I feel like those kinds of things kill faith because kids grow up thinking that stuff is real. Yeah and they grow up thinking those things are real, God is real. They lump them all together
BERNIE: Oh gosh no, right
JEWEL: and when they grow up they realize wait, Santa Clause isn’t real? And the Tooth Fairy isn’t real? Then God must not be real either I made it clear I feel like those things kind of are killing that faith in God and they think it preserves wonder in a child there are so many things that you can wonder- I mean all of God’s creation and all the things God does that’s wonderful that’s things you should have your wonder in so if you put your wonder in these fake things and they think oh you’re not preserving wonder in a child. You’re killing a child’s like imagination and creativity I think that is absolutely that is the wrong thing, you’re not killing their imagination creativity, you’re killing their faith you know and you can believe in God and not believe in those fake fairy things and preserve wonder and teach creativity and imagination. I just like so from a very early age from the minute my kids could look around and see things and understand what I’m saying to them, I told them this is Christmas it’s in honor of a fake god, do we honor fake gods or do we honor the real God? And they’ll say oh the real God and then I go so we don’t do that. As they got older, and so you know little kids are very bold. And so you said Haiden would tell everybody, so Russell was given a gift from his teacher for Christmas one time in first grade she wrapped up books gave a wrapped up book to all the kids in our class and when I came to pick up Russell one day after school and he hadn’t come out and I was looking for him and so I went to his classroom and he was very angry at his teacher and I’m like what’s going on? And the teachers all like Russell is upset because I gave him a Christmas gift and Russell is all like I told her! I told her so many times
EMERICK: I don’t celebrate Christmas and so I was like oh man! So I had to like pull him aside and I told my other kids too like you have to understand this is a truth that we know it’s not a truth that everybody knows yet and so we do have to share it but we have to be sensitive
EVERYONE: yeah, right, right
JEWEL: how we’re going to take it maybe they’ve lived their whole life believing this, so we have to be gentle and so I had to explain to Russell you know we took the book and apologized to the teacher I was like Russell you can’t be angry at her she was just trying to be nice to you and he’s like but I told her I don’t celebrate Christmas
BERNIE, HOST: Well you know we do get a lot of that side eye from a lot of those parents for this other parents, other adults and we become that super weird lame parent real quick when we’re missing from the Halloween parades and Holiday parties you know. How do we explain our beliefs to teachers and surrounding adults that may think its quote and quote not a big deal to include our kids in things that are against our beliefs?
JEWEL: I think for me, I don’t know, for me none of this is a big deal to be honest. I just straight up tell the teachers we don’t celebrate it and that’s it and then I think we live in a world now that
BERNIE: that is a little bit more accepting
JEWEL: yeah that there is a lot of different beliefs and so teachers are a lot more accommodating.
EMERICK: And I tell my kids we are not going to make any excuses to do something because we still want to learn and we still want to let our teachers know that we are here for the learning even though it goes against our beliefs that we’re going to make accommodations so that we’re not offending God but we are still learning. So they were making leprechaun traps in kindergarten and they had to make a family project with your family you were going to make a leprechaun trap they had to bring it to school then their going to trick the kids that they had a leprechaun something like that right? And David was in kindergarten he told his teacher you know I don’t really believe in leprechauns and it goes against, in my church I’m not allowed to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day so is it okay if I just make a mouse trap? So he made an accommodation he’s like I’m not saying I don’t want to do this I know this is a family project but I’m not going to make a leprechaun trap I’m going to make a mouse trap instead and she was like okay sounds good so we made a mouse trap and then he told me in kindergarten he’s like I wanted to tell everybody that you didn’t really catch a leprechaun it was just the teachers tricking you.
BERNIE, HOST: I love this kid!
EMERICK: And so if there’s like a Christmas work sheet or anything like that my kids have done in the past said is it okay if I do this work sheet instead?
My mom found this worksheet online and it’s like the same content but it’s just something different and then they’re like okay you know they’re still able to participate with the learning
BERNIE: sure, there’s a solution
JEWEL: Can I ask Emerick a question on that real quick so maybe I don’t know if I’m doing this right or wrong you know because same thing with me I believe I let my kids participate you know in the activities just the same thing like yours during Halloween time it’s arts and crafts you know what I mean they still have to do the arts and crafts so that’s what I mean I don’t completely take them out of the activities like in arts and crafts. Even in the holidays they have a holiday program where they sing songs you know for the holiday program I mean I actually allow my kids to participate.
EMERICK: We take the seasonal approach so I’ll ask the teacher because there have been programs is it okay if your child participates in the program and I’m like what’s the song? And then she’ll tell me what the song is and I’m like oh okay that’s just winter I believe that jingle bells is just a winter song and they’re just going through the snow or whatever like that and I’m like oh that’s okay but when they start singing about Santa Clause and all that stuff then I say nah we can’t really participate in that so yeah and when they do their crafts like for example they did 12 days of Christmas craft so they where counting down for Christmas and David said can I count down to New Years? And they’re all like okay and then he made those rings were he was counting down to the new years. Because we always accommodated and they were very clear so the teachers knew that we didn’t do this but we’re still here we’re not trying to excuse ourselves out of these activities we’re still here for the learning
BERNIE: those are great examples
MAR: You know what’s funny? Is that uhm I know my son had an encounter with his friend doing that thing being really loud like we don’t celebrate that. why do you? You know and of course I’m over there trying to calm him down and then like so his friend turns to him and says do you celebrate birthdays and then my son turns to me do we celebrate birthdays?
MAR: I was like yes we celebrate birthdays, new years. Its funny because they’re like he’s still defining where the line is as well.
EMERICK: I take the academic approach to it as well. we go ahead we’ve gone and went back to the history of all these holidays then we’ve like Googled where did this come from? Or where did this come from and then we’ll read we’ve read where does thanksgiving come from and then I’ll ask them is that okay? Does that offended God? And they’re like I don’t think so and I’m like yeah I think it’s okay to do that and then we’ll Google where does Christmas come from. Actually we’ll use the shows on INC media we use a lot of That’s In the Bible
BERNIE, HOST: nice
EMERICK: They have a lot of good shows explaining the history of a holiday does that offend God and then they’re like yeah because you know it dates back to a pagan God a pagan ritual and I’m like then so we don’t do that so that they’re very clear to which holidays and why. You know so that they can defend themselves too when they go there, it’s not just something my mom said it’s not just something said at church.
EMERICK: but I actually have a reason for it and we will rehearse because I know that there’s going to be people out there though there are many people that are kind and tolerant now a days you know? I grew up where people were rude about it when I was a kid and so incase you encounter this you might, let’s practice what you might say so that you’re not offending somebody but you’re actually hopefully enlightening them. We would approach it with a question you know, we would rehears that with my kid if someone said why don’t you celebrate Christmas then I would tell my kids to say well why do you? You know because the burden of proof is not on us because we don’t celebrate it. they’re the ones who celebrate it so they should be the ones to justify why they celebrate it.
MAR: you’re so smart
BERNIE, HOST: I’m taking notes right now
JEWEL: Me too. I really like that approach. Really instead of the kids just… especially when you when your kids are a little older where they can really understand, I like the academic approach to their- they are trained to always go back to the truth
EMERICK: Uhm so the burden of proof is not on us, it’s on them because they’re the ones who celebrate it
MAR: I love that
BERNIE, HOST: I feel like after this Emerick should just drop the mic
BERNIE, HOST: Though we’ve talked about what to tell our kids and their teachers in regards to why we don’t celebrate certain holidays and yes the exclusion of our kids from any activates that are related to the event this discussion is really about teaching our kids spiritual integrity it’s their first real battle with real Christian hardships like persecution like choosing God over what’s popular and sacrifice we’re not only paving the way, we’re leaving bread crumbs so that when our kids grow up out there in the real world there’s adults facing questions like why don’t you join us for happy hour why can’t you date him because he’s a cutie patootie then they’ll look aback at these moments and remember what we’ve taught them about, about that spiritual integrity so I’d like to thank the listeners for joining us this evening and thank you to our panelist Jewel, Emerick and Mar. Thank you ladies.
EVERYONE: thank you
EMERICK: so informative
BERNIE, HOST: I’m going to be looking over these notes later, trust me I mean everybody has come up with some really great information.
BERNIE, HOST: I’m Bernie Rosquites you’ve been listening to tired moms a pod cast brought to you by Faith and Family, we’ll talk to you all again next time.