Re:party favors offending Jewish guests

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Adelle D. Stavis

Oct 21, 2005, 5:10:47 PM10/21/05
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Avi Posts:

"I have been participating in a discussion of this subject on another
(parenting-related) board and am interested in hearing other people's

"Specifically, a poster (presumably Christian) will be holding a baby
shower around Christmas time, and was considering giving away "Seasonal"
(but non-religious) party favors such as tree decoration balls. She
wondered whether Jewish guests at her party would be offended by this.

"I expressed doubt that anyone but the most observant Orthodox Jews would take
offense at a candy cane, snowman or tree decoration ball, but that overtly
religious symbols (e.g. manger scenes, crosses) would be inappropriate.
Another poster responded that the only Jews who shared my view were
"anti-Israel, anti-religion, anti-observant" Jews (which she apparently
presumes me to be, though I am none of these). She suggested I post the
question on a Jewish list to see what reactions I get.

"So here I am. How would you feel if you were invited to a baby shower by a
Christian friend toward the end of December, and were given a tree ball as a
party favor? Would you be highly offended?"

Adelle responds:

Offended - No.

Exasperated, dejected, and irritated - yes.

Why? Perhaps its because I worked retail for a while. I get fed up with how
much Christmas permeates everything. And a tree ball is only used to decorate
Christmas trees. If the poster scoffs at that, ask her "what other time of the
year does she display them?"

I affiliate with a C synagogue, where I sub for Hebrew school classes and help
lead services but don't keep kosher, keep Shabbat, etc. So am kind of middle
of the road with leanings toward more observant.

Christmas is a touchy thing for me and always has been. The constancy of
everything being about the holiday just plain drives me nuts.

In the US, everything after Veteran's Day is about Christmas. You can't even
go grocery shopping without the ever present carols and Christmas wreath bags.
TV shows and commercials (even for local news stations) are 'holiday' themed
(reds and greens, carol playing in the background, with a menorah stuck
somewhere on the set). Society assumes everyone has warm, fuzzy feelings about
the holiday born out of sugar plum memories which make Christmas time "the
most wonderful time of the year." If you aren't joyous, you are "a scrooge."

Why can't a baby shower be about the blessing to be? Why must it *also* be
about Christmas? It's an easy and affordable thing for the hostess, no doubt.
But unless the expectant mom is making a big deal about her Christmas baby, I
think it's giving short shrift to the true purpose of party, the child that's
on the way.

As a friend's daughter laments, when you are born around Christmas, your
birthday gets melded into the holiday. Your birthday never gets to be a
special day all by itself. She now celebrates her half birthday in June
instead, so it can be a separate, unique day. This baby is having its special
day melded in, and its not even here, yet.

[please remove the obvious to respond]

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