Teaching the "true meaning" of Xmas.

Meghan - posted on 12/16/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I know I shouldn't do this but hear me out....

My 2 year old goes to a home daycare that is run by a Christian woman. She isn't pushy but they do say grace before lunch, and she has asked permission to teach them the "true meaning" of Christmas. I think it is awesome. I want my son to learn as much as he can about everything he can. (Plus, he is in her home and I do believe that even though he is young, he should start to learn to respect other's believes and customs) I bought him a book about the first Christmas which I have been reading to him the past few nites. Tonite we set up a nativity scene that my mom has had for years and he asked me what it was. I told him it was Baby Jesus going to sleep with his Mommy and Daddy and some cows.. (Lol, he's 2...I can't go into much more detail than that)
I am not a religious person. I believe there could be a higher power, I just don't know exactly what/who it is. I think it is great for people to have faith, but I am so turned off by organized religion and fanatics. Like I always say, I believe one's relationship with higher powers is a personal thing.

So, my question is directed more so towards the non religious mommies out there. Do you encourage/tell the "true story of Christmas," whether you believe it or not. Would you inform yourself of "the true story" to educate your child?

I also want to state, that my intentions of this post ARE NOT to have a battle of if there is/isn't a God, is religion good for kids, praise the Lord. I don't want anyone to try and convince anyone of anything. I just simply want to know how other moms handle teaching religious issues at this time of year.

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Sarah - posted on 12/16/2010

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We're not religious at all, but my eldest has learned about lot's of different religions at her school (and through talking with me) obviously including Christianity.
So she knows the Nativity story etc.
Whether or not that's the "true story/meaning" of Xmas is debatable in my opinion though. My daughter knows there's different religions, but I would certainly never say that one was more true over another.
I think that sort of thing is a decision she should come to on her own terms. :)

Johnny - posted on 12/16/2010

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I am agnostic/atheist and my husband is agnostic but of a believer than me. My family has always celebrated this holiday as Yule, not as Christmas, except for the few years when I was a teen and became a Christian. Then my parent's attended church with me. But otherwise, we don't really celebrate it as the birth of Christ, but as the winter festival/winter solstice.

I will eventually be teaching my daughter the story of Christmas, so that she can understand what other people believe and why they celebrate in the ways that they do. I will also be teaching her about the holidays of other faiths that are celebrated all around us. I will be explaining that while her father and I do not believe that these stories are "true", she is free to discover her own feelings about what meaning all of these things hold for her.

Even though I am not a Christian, I actually always find the story of the birth of Jesus very beautiful and profound. The birth of any child is such a wonderful gift to the world, and for me, the story is an allegory conveying how special each of us are, how we all are important and belong here at the place we find ourselves in the universe. The song Silent Night actually often brings tears to my eyes. I'd like to be able to convey that sort of thing to my daughter as the "true" meaning of Christmas. I hope that doesn't offend believers...

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Lucy - posted on 12/17/2010

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We are Pagan, so we celebrate the Winter Solstice, so that's our children's main experience of this time of year.

But I have no problem with them learning about the story of Christ from other family members or friends. The "true" message of hope, light and giving is common to both festivals, as well as many of the customs (tree, decorations, gifts, big meal etc) so I think it's a shame that some people see the two as so distinct.

I also think it's great for kids to learn that people have different beliefs. The pre-school my children go to celebrated Divali this year, as it is part of the belief system of one of the staff. I'm no expert, but it seemed to me from the activities they did that, again, the central message of the festival is very similar to both Christmas and Midwinter.

So, to answer the question, I do think children should be taught the true meaning of the season. BUT, I don't think you have to be Christian or have a specifically Christian belief to teach it. The bringing of light, joy and love are the message and meaning that all winter religious festivals share.

Isobel - posted on 12/17/2010

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Many of you have heard this story...but I don't know how many. so...read it again bitches. Q and I were walking down the street when we came across a giant nativity scene. Q said to me "Look Mommy, Jews" To which I replied "yup...the people INSIDE the house? not so much" HAHAHAHAHAHA

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My son is 3. Simply put, I don't teach him anything about Christmas as far as Jesus goes. Honestly, I've barely even begun telling him about Santa and that's mainly because I'm iffy on the whole "lying to him" thing. Plus, the way I see it, he's still young. He has plenty of time as he grows up, to ask questions, which I will answer honestly and to the best of my ability. I was raised in the southern Baptist church, so a lot of the questions about Christianity I can answer for him and I would have no problem helping him find answers (that I don't have). I will also help him research other religions, probably learn a thing or two myself along the way. But for me, I feel like it's best to wait until he's older because if I teach him one thing now, and then live our life a different way the rest of the year, it will only serve to confuse him.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/17/2010

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I won't deny my child knowledge of other religions, and [for instance] if they see a nativity scene and ask what it is, then I will definitely tell them what it is about. Just as I will explain about Hanukkah and the Maccabee's if they ask what a Menorah is :)

Isobel - posted on 12/17/2010

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I teach my kid about Jesus and Christianity all the time...and judaism...and Islaam...my kids know that SOME people believe that Christmas is Jesus' birthday...but that a lot of us just celebrate family and sharing

Joanna - posted on 12/17/2010

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I'm agnostic and don't personally talk about the religious aspects of the holiday. Both my mom and MIL are Christian, and they read books and sing songs about the "true meaning," and I'm okay with that. They know that I would prefer them to not go into detail yet as the girls are young, but if they ask questions (which they haven't) then they can answer.

Louise - posted on 12/17/2010

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My daughter is two and she took part in the playgroup nativity yesterday as an angel and they were taught the story of christmas. She was also given a book called the lucky camel which is the christmas story told from the eyes of the camel that brought the three wise men. I think you are never to young to learn the christmas story. I am not religious but there is nothing wrong in teaching your child this story of love and hope for all. In England these days we have to cover alot of faiths and very little time is spent on Christianity which is a shame as that is our roots. I am pleased to say that my daughter knows more about jesus than she does father christmas but I am sure as she gets older that will change!

Jodi - posted on 12/16/2010

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My kids attend Catholic school, so obviously, they DO know the story of the birth of Jesus. However, we do also do Santa (and they do also do Santa at school), and we DO talk about St Nicholas. My kids have always believed in all of the stories of Christmas, including Santa (until they were old enough - I only have one left who still believes that Santa comes every Christmas).



I see absolutely no harm in teaching kids about the nativity even if you are not religious. The same as I do think we should teach our kids about other people's Christmas's around the world. It is actually really important for children to understand other people's beliefs anyway.

Jessica - posted on 12/16/2010

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Really does depend what you believe, if you believe in God, you celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus and such, if your Pagan, you teach the actual origins for the holiday. There is never harm in learning though, you can't fully respect another religion or culture if you don't learn about it.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 12/16/2010

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When my son was 6 he started to ask more and more questions about Santa…

One day we were in Wal-Mart and went over in the “Holiday” section…..out of no where he asks…”Why is there wrapping paper…if Santa does all the wrapping in North Pole?
That was just one of many question that soon followed, so that night I told him the truth and he was in denial and thought I was lying to him…

So we looked it up on the internet, and I told him in words he would understand how Santa got his name and what he use to give out to the poor/needed/sick…

Well the next day he went to school to tell everyone Santa is not real…when he got home he said, “Mom no one believes me! LOL

I think when they start to ask questions you should tell them the truth…you still have parents that continue to tell “White” lies when there child asks a question…just tell em’ if they are aware to ask.

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