What comes to mind when you think of “the holidays?” Maybe you think about the amazing food, the gathering of family and friends, the changing of the seasons (depending on where you live…), you might even ponder about the state of the world and the approaching new year. Your thoughts around the holidays are probably also rooted based on your beliefs and the holiday(s) that you celebrate. Whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe nothing at all, the main point is always the same- in the words of Bill & Ted, “Be excellent to each other!”
One way you can be excellent this holiday season is by exploring the beautiful and diverse customs that make up the heart of a seasonal celebration, especially one that is different than your own.
Embrace Learning About New Traditions
Being a Jewish girl growing up in rural Illinois, it was pretty inevitable that I would experience different holiday celebrations, namely Christmas. I remember being apprehensive for my first holiday season at school. Would they think I was weird for not celebrating Christmas like them? Would I have to hide the awesome new menorah sweater my mom bought me? Turns out I had nothing to worry about, as my classmates did everything they could to make me feel included. They not only taught me about Christmas and all of their beautiful customs, but my teacher even invited my Dad into class to help teach them about Hanukkah! Seeing my classmates play with dreidels, ask questions about Hanukkah traditions, and say things like, “Wow, you really get 8 DAYS of presents?! Lucky!”, made me feel so honored that they were that interested in learning about this huge part of my life.
Honoring Life and Gratitude, No Matter the Celebration
The experience helped teach me that I should never feel ashamed for who I am and what I believe, because my traditions are rooted in the same concepts as Christmas and most holiday celebrations in general. Those core concepts are to celebrate all the amazing people in your life, and show gratitude for all you have. That little grade school class taught me that diversity is what makes all of us unique, and we all have a chance to enrich our lives when we embrace people who are different than us and take the time to learn their stories.
Our office is decked out in an assortment of holiday decor including our very own Menorahsaurus Rex!
A Holiday Challenge
With that being said, I have a holiday challenge for you. Take the time in the next few weeks to talk to someone who celebrates differently than you, and ask them how their holidays were. If they are comfortable talking about it, step outside of your comfort zone and ask them about their customs and traditions. It can be intimidating to approach people about their spiritual traditions, but through the conversation you may find pieces of your own traditions are rooted in the same core values. Let us know how you are embracing diversity in your own celebrations this year! And from all of us at Reflection Software, have a wonderfully amazing holiday season. See you next year 😉