'Tis the Season: Part 2

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Living in a Christmas world is normal for many, but imagine if you came from a country that didn't celebrate Christmas, or another city that highly celebrated all the holidays and moved to a part of the country that is predominantly one religion.

"I think what's probably the hardest thing about the holiday season, especially in Bowling Green, Ky., is that everything is so Christmas oriented," said Missi Carini, the president of the Am Shalom Congregation.

According to Carini, who originally grew up in New York, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is represented more than it is in our area.

"For every window at every department store, there is Jewish stuff up. You can walk into any store and buy Jewish and Hanukkah wrapping paper, versus 5,000 different kinds of Christmas wrapping. You can't buy any of that in this town," Carini said.

Carini also said even something so simple as a Hanukkah card is impossible to find here.

"There's not even a consideration that somebody might need something else, that somebody here who might be extremely Christian might have a friend that they want to purchase for," Carini said.

For Zubar Mohamed who celebrates the Islamic religion, the Christmas holiday can also be a hard time of year especially when it comes to his kids.

"When the kids know that their friends are getting hundreds of gifts from their relatives, it does become in a sense that you want to get them some gifts, but at the same time you want to maintain the heritage," Mohamed said.

Mohamed also said this can become a balancing act during the Christmas holiday.

"So you may have to go get them something and at the same time educate the children about who we are and what we are and at the same time not making them feel isolated from the mainstream," Mohamed said.

Mustafa Atici also celebrates the Islamic religion and said it is especially difficult when the children do not see anything but Christmas this and Christmas that. However, Atici said this is also a great opportunity to explain to children the differences in religions.

"You can look at it both ways. It is difficult but it is also a nice chance for them. They can see both," Atici said.

But according to Carini, they still aren't seeing enough. While the community has opened up to different religions more in the last 10 years, such as some schools calling their Christmas concerts holiday concerts, there is still more to be done to include all religions at this time of year.

"Do I think the square shouldn't just have a manger on it, but it should have a menorah on it as well? Yes," Carini said.

Those that celebrate Christmas are expected to spend over $800 a piece on gifts this year for the holiday. Some say they're spending way too much. They say the reason for the season is being forgotten.

Coming up tomorrow night in 'Tis The Season Part 3, we'll take a closer look at the commercialization of the Christmas holiday and how some are now cutting back.

For more on Muslim, Jewish and Christian holidays, check out the links below:

Christian Holidays

Jewish Holidays

Islamic Holidays

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