Dear Katie & Kelly


Christmas & Gift Giving

Festooning with evergreens has been done for millennia

Dear K & K: This is a tricky time of year for me with my in-laws. They’re super into Christmas. But, I am not. My family was very religious, from a different culture, and we didn’t grow up doing gift giving at Christmas. The vastly different ways that we approach Christmas wasn’t a problem when we first got married. But it has become one since I had kids. I’m a very logical person and am honest to my son (and soon to my other son) about Christmas traditions. But, my in-laws insist on Santa Claus etc. and giving too many gifts. I’ve asked them repeatedly to not give sp many gifts at Christmas but they continue to find a way to do so. I’m at the point where I’m considering no longer celebrating Christmas with them. Sincerely: Virginia in New York City.

Dear Virginia: What comes to your mind when you read this: 12 days of festivities, Yuletide, Yule logs, wreaths, gift exchanging, feasts, singing, evergreens. Christmas? Guess again. These are the traditions that almost all predate Jesus Christ’s birth. They’re what ancient Northern Europeans did to celebrate the Winter Solstice. The Ancient Romans also celebrated a holiday called Saturnia on December 25th to mark the solstice. What’s our point? You are fighting an uphill battle against millennia of humans marking the darkest days of the year. It’s a battle that Christians seem to have only won by merging Christmas into the existing Yuletide festivities. If the Christian church couldn’t get people to stop, you’re not likely to either.

Our solution is to talk with your in-laws. It’s your life. Explain why your position on Christmas is important to you. But, remember. One day, if you’re lucky, you’ll be an in-law too. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Then, set up Christmas boundaries you can live with and they can too. As usual, communicate and do lots of it. Happy Winter Solstice! Katie & Kelly

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