How do I celebrate birthdays? Or Xmas?

by Rayvin 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • Legolas

    I put up the lights and the tree around the end of Nov.....But this year it will be up a little earlier because my parents leave for Florida for the winter, this year anyway, Dec 1. And this will be our first time doing it in 9-10 years, CAN"T wait!!

  • stevenyc


    Get a friend with no JDub history and ask them to help you arrange it. Explain you never did this as a kid, and you want a good one for your kiddy.


  • luna2

    Since I became a JW as an adult, I am familiar with celebrating holidays and bdays and stuff....but, 20 years of believing it to be wrong takes some getting over. I do rather like the idea that I'm not tied to anything. If I feel like celebrating or decorating, I can. If it feels like too much to bother with, I won't. If I want to go on a cruise over Christmas or to the movies on Thanksgiving, I'll do that. If I want to decorate the house and roast a turkey while drinking eggnog, I'll can do that too. Of course, I don't have small children and my family is used to me not being a part of this stuff by now so I can truly do what I please.

    I must say that I like the freedom. I'm glad I don't have to pretend that I don't enjoy someone saying a birthday greeting or that I don't think 4th of July fireworks are fun or that Christmas decorations aren't festive and pretty.

  • ButtLight

    Get the tree all decorated, turn off the lights, and plug in the tree and sing "were jehovahs witnesses"

  • stevenyc

    buutlight: 'were jehovahs witnesses'



  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Hi Rayvin,

    You didn't mention if you were raised a Dub or approximately how old you were.

    "Social Culture" is something we learn by experience. When we are children, there is a very large EMOTIONAL CONTEXT to holidays, and the traditions we observe are largely efforts to invoke the emotional context of our childhood days.

    So if you are a Dub kid, raised in a Dub isolation chamber with NO social culture and no emotional context, it is pretty darned hard to come up with something on cue. As you said, we feel like we're acting. We feel phoney, because the emotional subtext is missing.

    As you might guess, I was raised in the dub isolation chamber. I've given up on celebrating holodays that are as empty and meaningless for me as Kwanzaa or Ramadan, neither of which has ever been part of my personal social culture.

    I give gifts when the urge strikes me - not when the calendar says I'm supposed to.

    As you might imagine, this has demonstrated to me that many people don't know how to handle a spontaneous gift because THAT is not part of their social culture. But I think people usually like to get gifts, so I continue my bizzarre behavior.

    As you make new friends - real friends, not robots who act in whatever way Brooklyn tells them - you will find that they will accept you in spite of your rough edges, just as you accept them in spite of their rought edges. It takes time for a new behavior to become comfortable. You can stick with it if you want to, and in time you will begin to feel the warmth of emotional context. But if you don't want to, that's OK too. You can explain to your friends that you were raised in a JW isolation chamber and that you don't know "how" to behave on holidays. They may not understand completely, but they'll let you be you.

    Best wishes to you.

  • cruzanheart

    It's fun!!! We had help with the kids' birthdays -- their friends' parents very kindly showed us the ropes. In fact, one dad showed up at Jackson's birthday party with his son in tow, saying "my wife told me I had to come and show you how to do this, since it's your first time."

    Our kids are 9 and 11 and we learned last year that bigger is not necessarily better. If you have too much going on, the birthday kid may feel left out. Jennie's 12th birthday is in October, and we're taking her and three of her closest friends out to dinner and then back to the house for a sleepover. Last March, when Jackson turned 9, we rented a bounce house, had a houseful of kids, and there was too much excitement and stimulation so he ended up in tears at one point.

    As for Christmas, I absolutely love that holiday! Since I didn't celebrate it as a kid, my inner kid thrills to the sight of the lit tree and I'm the last one to bed at night because I have to look at it before unplugging the lights. Again, check with your neighbors and "worldly" friends and coworkers -- I'll bet they would be thrilled (and amused) to help you. Whether you believe in the "reason for the season" or not, it's just a wonderful time to celebrate family and friends, enjoy the lights, and relax a little. Start your own traditions. Start your own ornament collection! Do what makes you feel good.

    Above all, have fun with it!



  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    We did xmas last year - mostly for the g-kids. I have no clue on timing of things. This week I have my first b-day party of my life. I think due to it being my 50th is the reason.

    I agree - make your own traditions. If you don't have a spirit for it, don't force it either. Nothing wrong in not celebrating. If it weren't for the kids I would prob pass on it. After 50 years I feel no drive to bother with it too much. But it has the positive effect of making you realize you have really cut the ties with the borg. And that you can choose. I like that freedom. I do like the lights too.


  • Sassy

    I have no clue about kids birthdays.. the first birthday I ever celebrated with my kids, my youngest was 21.. and even then he was still not comfortable with much, so I had a party of my friends to meet him at my place but he didnt' even want a cake.. and since my kids live in the midwest, now I just send a present.. So you'll have to get advice from parents with young kids here for that..

    I'm still working on the Christmas stuff.. this will be my third Christmas.. every year I buy a few more things.. and I am absolutly loving it..

    I do put up my tree either that day after Thanksgiving or the following weekend.. mostly because I enjoy the decorations so much that I want to make the most of them.. plus I fly home to the midwest for Christmas with my family the last week of December, so I wants some time to enjoy the christmas decorations at home for a while...

    I don't know all the traditions of stockings an all that yet.. when you put stuff in.. are things opened at different times.. etc.. I've just been playing it by ear with everyone around me..

  • Rayvin

    Thank you all for your great comments and suggestions! Keep them coming!

    I was raised from the womb as JW. I also give gifts when i get the feeling so it was hard to plan for the happy occasion of xmas.(?) I was more worried about all the money I am spending. (since one of the things i would say back when i was JW to defend myself for not celebrating xmas..etc was "how lucky i am that i don't have to go broke every year for xmas" and " didn't you know that the suicide rate is higher during the holidays?")

    me and hubby are also in a hard place. Family visits occasionally and sometimes stop by un announced. We have to worry. What if we have lights up and then his mom wants to visit??? We have a small tree so its easy to put away.

    For some reason.. no idea why but Halloween was always my favorite!!!!!! I would so love to go ALL OUT and decorate the yard the house.. everything for Halloween. I just love costume parties!!!

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