December: Celebrations and Dilemmas, 2002

December 25, 2002

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On December 25, 2002 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that "last night, a group of Hindu children arrived at the Belani family's home in Brookfield for a party complete with gifts and a visit from Santa Claus. 'It's not something that we do for religious reasons,' said Belani, who has two daughters, ages 9 and 10. 'I just want the kids to feel like a part of it just because everyone else is doing it. I feel like kids are growing up here and it's hard for them.' With carols playing on every radio station, decorations up just about everywhere and the shoppers scampering through the malls, Christmas is hard to escape, especially in the United States. So plenty of non-Christians find themselves succumbing to the cultural side of the holiday, exchanging presents and heading to the parties. The issue is especially complicated for non-Christian parents with young children. The kids learn about Santa Claus and his bag of gifts from their friends at school. They see that others have Christmas trees and decorations on their lawns. They sing Christmas songs in music class. They feel restless during the school break. And they ask whether Santa will stop by their house. The parents often give in, at least when the kids are young, and let them take part in the less religious rituals."