Ask Shuli: I’m no Grinch

Dear Shuli:

Our family isn’t Jewish, but we send our 18-month-old daughter to a Jewish daycare. I’m wondering how big of a faux pas it is to let [my daughter] wear her Christmas shirts to her Jewish daycare? A lot of the kids aren’t Jewish … but it makes me feel weird for some reason.

— Merry Mama

Dear Merry Mama:

I love this question! I get similar queries from non-Jewish friends whose kids go to the JCC preschool with my daughters. It’s a great school, and thus packed with kids from diverse backgrounds.

I give you props for your sensitivity in this area, but please don’t worry about it. Go ahead and let your daughter wear her Christmas shirts to daycare this week. If you were dressing her in Santa gear and green and red all month long, that would be a different matter… but her festive outfits sound cute and harmless. As my friend Gila says, what’s the point of sending your kid to a multicultural daycare if she can’t express her culture?

At least a third of the children at our JCC preschool are not Jewish, and the same goes for the teachers. They’ll be celebrating Christmas next week, and I greet them with holiday wishes accordingly. We also give the teachers Hanukkah or Christmas gifts. At the school, we don’t do Easter egg hunts or officially hand out Valentine’s cards (thank goodness), but Christmas outfits and appropriate greetings at daycare seem pretty jolly and harmless to me.

Now I’m going back to packing up my hanukkiot. Happy Holidays to all!