The deep connection between traditions and holidays for us may, or may not be because of their original significance to the holiday. I mean, I understand that being “home for the holidays” has a heart-catching sentimental string attached. But the first Christmas was all about making a home even if you were traveling and the only space for the night was in a barn.
Tell a few stories about holiday traditions —well known ones like dreidels for Chanukah, decorating trees for Christmas or enjoying special music for any faith. Then invite students to tell the stories of their special family traditions –which ones they really like, or maybe aren’t so fond of.
Oh, and about the man in red? I like to think of this story as a “let’s pretend” game many of us enjoy, and appreciate children letting us play. When you’re able to ignore the made up Hollywood version, he has a real connection with the religious story.
Instead of trying to do everything this year —choose the traditions that are really important for you, and enjoy them.