So, who’s setting the tone for your holiday season?

So, who’s setting the tone for your holiday season? And how’s that working out for you? 

It’s a cliché that we in the developed world are bombarded with messages saying that our winter celebrations should involve consumption and commodities. The other part of the cliché is that you should fight these messages by somehow returning to the true, original, spiritual meaning of your preferred traditional winter holidays. Two competing shoulds.

I have a simple, technical suggestion that’s a little bit different. Reset the tone, the vibration, for yourself, of your own holiday season. More on how to do that below; you can skip to the end right now to read about it. Or continue on for more of my own holiday story.

As children, we usually default to the tone, and all the accompanying customs and emotions, that our family sets for the holidays. The result for me has been mixed. As a child in suburban Long Island, New York, I lived mainly among other secular Jews. Though my family was grounded in what I call the left-wing branch of Judaism – focused on progressive social action but not religious observance – we did what most of our neighbors and friends of various political leanings did for the holidays. We decorated a tree and exchanged gifts on Christmas, pretty much in the spirit that to do so was to be American; we also lit candles in a menorah and gave Hanukkah presents. It felt normal and comfortable.

We moved to Cupertino, Calif. when I was 10 years old, and I suddenly felt like an outsider.  

Read the rest of the blog post here (I don't want to compromise its searchability with a duplicated post).... 

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