I posted this in a thread over at Blog Frog and after I got going I realized I had so much to say that I wanted to share it here as well! Wordy? Who me? Never!

Jessica wanted to know how to handle conflicting beliefs in the family. Not just religious beliefs but, thoughts on Santa and other things as well. Here are my thoughts...

I think that while Christmas is technically a Christian holiday, it is and has become more of an American holiday. Meaning, I know plenty of people that aren't religious in the slightest but, still celebrate the holiday. To me, Christmas is as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July. I like to observe the holidays of the year, not because of religion, instead because it is a chance to get the family together and remember how much love is possible.

For me, Christmas is about eating too much, opening gifts and spending time with the people you love. Big picture here, I don't think it matters who the presents are from (Santa, Jesus, parents), what church service you went to (or didn't), which version of Jesus you celebrate (or don't), whether you have a Christmas tree or not, whether you say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, or any of the other stuff.

My thought is that the holiday season is about remembering to pause and smile at a neighbor, helping someone with a door, giving the mailman a gift, snuggling with your kids on a cold night, getting joy in giving to those you love, gathering with family that you may only see on that one day all year, and celebrating real peace and joy. Those things know no religion or boundaries or miles or mythical present givers or anything else. Love, friendship, peace, happiness, joy are things that are universal and what I feel is the true spirit of this entire season.

Those are the reasons I get excited about this season.

Because for every elbow bump in the mall, you'll get someone willing to share their Christmas cheer with you.

For every annoying family member, you get those moments with the ones you love and cherish.

For every complaint about traffic you can find a praise about the goodwill of others.

I see people without much in their own lives who give so much of themselves to others because of this holiday season. I see children who have no reason to be happy get smiles on their faces because of the kindness of strangers. It isn't about all of those people, or even all the people in your family, being the same religion or believing in the same things. It's about enjoying the fact that there are other people in this world with us. Embracing them and their differences. Loving everyone and showing our family how much we appreciate them.

And because all of those things are without religious boundaries, I do not consider Christmas a primarily religious holiday. It's perfectly fine if it is but, it certainly doesn't have to be.

I say, celebrate what's in your heart. Teach your children to do the same and there's no way they'll miss out on fun at Christmastime.

That's Snappy, Christmas- two years ago, with visions of sugarplums dancing in her head.