What the Holidays Mean to Me

I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. My dad was Jewish, as was my grandfather who lived with us when I was little, while my mom was “Christmas”, as I used to say. 

There’s a story my dad tells about how we went to the Smithsonian and had to go up to this book and sign in. I wrote, “my name is Sophie Aaronson”, and in the column that said “religion”, I wrote “Christmas”. That’s pretty dead on. As a child, all I knew was the excitement of the tree, the craziness surrounding Santa and the excess/presents, and the joy of stockings and Christmas morning. I loved Christmas morning because my mom would make a huge breakfast and we would play with all our toys amongst the twinkle of white Christmas lights and the smell of pine. 

As a “grown up” I felt very conflicted over the past decade about who I was and what my religion was. I began practicing yoga 12 years ago and started to develop my spirituality. When I moved to LA to live with my dad and step mom, who are both Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah. It just was what it was. I didn’t get a choice. My stepmom grew up in a Jewish home, so Jewish holidays were the only thing celebrated. It made her feel uncomfortable to have a tree, so I didn’t push it, since it was her home. 

Later, after dating Adi (my husband) for some time, religion and how we would raise our future children came up in conversation. I began the process to convert to Judaism since I truly had no connection in my heart or upbringing with Christianity. It was important to Adi and his family to have Jewish children, and in Judaism, in order for the kids to be Jewish, the mamma must be Jewish. So, I converted. 

For several years I felt strange about not celebrating Christmas ever again. EVER? Really? Then I began trying to search and connect to what it was that I TRULY cared about. Was it the presents? No. For me, the holiday spirit has never really been about buying and receiving gifts. I didn’t feel a particular connection to going to church or celebrating Jesus’s birthday either. So what was it? What was I craving so deeply? It’s the tradition. It’s the EXCITEMENT I felt and shared with my siblings, the joy my mom felt in setting up all of the little surprises for us, and, as I aged, buying those I loved the most thoughtful gifts I could come up with. 

So how do Adi and I strike the balance? How do we avoid creating the same confusion for our kids that I felt as a child and into my adulthood?

The answer is that we do what feels true for us. We are Jewish. That’s what we resonate with spiritually and intellectually, so we celebrate Hanukkah. But, we will also have an elf on the shelf. I will read Christmas stories to the kids and we can go visit Santa if he’s in the hood. I will get a tree, because I love the way it smells, but we won’t over do it on expensive decorations. Just romantic twinkly white lights that I have always loved and a wreath on the front door.

I hope that as the kids continue to grow, we can keep the gifts to a minimum. Maybe a few gifts for each and a fun stocking of cute creative gifts. Not gifts JUST TO GIVE GIFTS, but gifts if we find something fun we want to share for them. I don’t want there to be a huge focus on the idea that the holidays are a time when we are supposed to be particularly happy. In the same way that I want to talk about why we are grateful every single day and not just on Thanksgiving, I want our family to focus on being happy and connected all year, as many days as possible, and as many times as feel right.

So that is that. When people ask why we have a tree even though we are Jewish, or when Kai’s friends ask who Santa is and wonder why we believe in him--we also believe in fairies and magic and dress up on many more days of the year than just Halloween. It’s all about balance, not taking yourself too seriously, and above all else, being true to yourself regardless of what or how other people think you “should” be. At the end of the day, being true to yourself will allow you to radiate the most authentic joy and that is one of the very greatest gifts you can share with world.

Connect with Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie on Facebook for more meaningful articles on health, well-being, and living a beautifully bliss-filled life!

 

Comments (3):

Meg on

Sophie! THIS was exactly what I needed to hear today! A perfect sentiment and philosophy on how to live life- Beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration!!!

Frank on

very well said, thank you for sharing!!

Shirlee on

this is beautiful and inspiring. thank you, Sophie!

Leave a comment:

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Other articles:

Taurus Moon Magic

I’ve been thinking about the moon a lot lately...my birthday is coming up on April 30th, my moon + sun signs are in Taurus, and the New Moon is in Taurus on the 26th! Over the past 3 years, I’ve actually done a lot of personal study on the moon and just signed up to be officially trained in June! I couldn't be more excited. I've been hosting moon circles – both full moon and new moon gatherings – for the past 2 years, and I want to continue offering such a beautiful ritual to my sisters and community.

Keep reading though to learn more about the Taurus Moon + how you can harness its powerful energy! 

This is a general reading, as your sun sign is going to interact specifically with this moon in more unique ways. In astronomy, the New Moon is the first phase of the Moon, when its orbit is seen from the earth –  the moment when the moon + the sun have the same ecliptic longitude. During this phase, the moon is farthest away from us on earth.

The New Moon is therefore a great time for setting new intentions, for attracting new people into your life, for beginning new projects, for interviewing for jobs, and for simply allowing new opportunities to unfold.

This earthy new moon in Taurus is here to help you ground and reconnect with your inner pleasure goddess and passionate being. We are taking the energy and seed that was planted from the Spring Equinox and are beginning to crack open and extend our intentions toward the warming sun. Take the energy of Spring and allow it to inspire you, like a strong beautiful tree.

How can you make your world more beautiful? How can you make your life more beautiful? Start with your home and work outwards. Spring cleanse your entire home, ridding yourself of what no longer serves you. Haven't worn it in months? Donate it. Haven't played with it in awhile? Give it away. From there, start to work through your behaviors and patterns. What isn't serving you any longer? Maybe this is a time to do a 5-Day Philosophie cleanse.

Really take this New Moon energy in Taurus to challenge yourself to grow into a new being. You have the opportunity to connect with a new version of yourself. This will include some uncomfortable moments, as healing and change always does, but it will be so worth it. Give yourself permission to be free and create a life of joy, something that only YOU know to be your dream reality.

During this time, use our Magic Moon Satchels to connect more deeply with the moon and her power. The moon is a celestial anchor that will help you make more sense of your world, both inner and outer. All you have to do is tune in.

What magical new beginnings are you creating while the New Moon is in Taurus? Share with me on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie!

 

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Love Mother Nature

My home extends beyond my house and into the world – into this incredible, vast earth. While I do love the concrete jungle of L.A., I can never get enough of nature, of days spent on the beach, in the forest, and anywhere that I can touch the soil and soak up the sky.

Just as I look after my house and fill it with positive energy by lighting candles, keeping it nice + tidy, and decorating with magical items that give me and my family so much joy, I feel the same way about our planet! We need to protect, preserve, and nurture our world so that it can continue being a lovely home for all of us, as well as for our kids and their kids.

One of the best ways to ensure that our earth stays beautiful is by teaching our babies to love and care for it as much as we do. Here are 5 ways that I share my passion for Mother Nature with Kai and Leo and hope to pass it on to them:

1) Play with your kids OUTSIDE.

Nature walks. Beach sandcastles. Wave jumping. Yoga in the garden. Camping trips. These are all fantastic ways to get your kids to learn that some of the greatest moments are when we connect to our roots and play outside, wild + free.

2) Cultivate their curiosity and sense of wonder.

Take you kiddies to natural history museums, science centers, and national parks. Make the library a weekly treat and help them check out books on their favorite animals or faraway places. Snuggle up and watch Planet Earth or March of the Penguins. Ignite their love for the world and all it has to offer.

3) Show your kids where their food comes from.

Take them to a blueberry farm. Swing by an aqueduct on a family road trip. Make your kids regulars at the farmers market. While this sparks an early appreciation for earth and its super yummy gifts, it also helps kids eat more nourishing, colorful fruits + veggies!

4) Teach your kids to thoughtfully collect, use, and let go of items.

Guide them in choosing quality over quantity, show them that less is more, and explain that we must take care of what we do own so that it lasts longer. Fast fashion and takeout containers aren’t good for our world so we should teach them to opt for goods that last, can be repaired, or can be thoughtfully given away, recycled, or composted when it’s time to part ways.

5) Share what’s going on in the news.
Point out the honey bees in your yard and explain how their hard work connects to the food we eat.Talk to your kids about climate change. Explain the positive impact we have on the drought when we take a shorter shower. Most importantly, remember to explain that no matter how sad or frustrating the news can be, there’s ALWAYS something we can do to help and make a difference :) 

.

I’d love to hear your tips on how to pass on a love for the planet to the next gen–share them with me on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie + #EarthOptimism!

Cacao Magic + Chameleon Cold-Brew Smoothie Recipe

Head over heels for cold brew AND nourishing superfood smoothies? I partnered with Chameleon Cold-Brew for National Cold Brew Day to bring you this special sponsored post featuring a super energizing, utterly divine Cacao Magic meets Chameleon Cold-Brew Smoothie!

Whip up this dreamy, dairy-free smoothie as a nutrient-dense breakfast or midday snack when you want to boost your energy levels, sans any jitters. Plus, the low acid levels ensure no tummy troubles whatsoever. This high-vibrational cold brew seriously helps me make the most of my day and HUSTLE to share Philosophie love with the world.

I especially love that Chameleon Cold-Brew steeps their organic, consciously-sourced beans for 16 HOURS. It definitely shows in the high quality flavor profile. The ultra smooth taste is why this is hands down my favorite cold brew, which makes perfect sense since they’re from Austin, Texas – a leader in all thing things hip + amazing.

For this protein-packed cacao cinnamon smoothie, I poured in a couple ounces of the Chameleon Cold-Brew Vanilla Concentrate, which actually features ZERO SUGAR. I love this because I can control the sweetness of my smoothie (or iced cold brew drink) and add a touch of our Cacao Bee Honey, if my sweet tooth calls for it.

If you happen to prefer a warm, soothing drink over an iced cold brew or frosty smoothie though, you can also heat up their cold brew and make a magical tonic or elixir!

Gather This:

.

Do This:

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blitz. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!

I’d love to see your superfood shakes, iced lattes, and tonics featuring Chameleon Cold-Brew! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest + tag us in your pics with #PhilosophieSuperfoods and #ChameleonColdBrew!

 

Zola Acai Smoothie Bowl Recipe

When I have a particularly busy day ahead, I whip up an acai bowl first thing in the morning to help me power through my morning and afternoon. Not only does this dreamy blend of bananas, pineapple, coconut water, Coconut Bliss Coco Butter, and acai whisk your taste buds off to the tropics, it's also super filling, energizing, AND anti-inflammatory. 

If you don't have frozen acai on hand, you can always use a bottle of acai juice. I love Zola's, which features organically grown and sustainably harvested acai berries bursting with antioxidants and omega fatty acids. It also contains zero cholesterol, preservatives, gluten, dairy, GMO or BPA, so I know I'm getting nothing but the good stuff. 

I also like Zola's Coconut Waters, which are full of essential electrolytes including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. On top of the fruit and the juices, I toss a handful of leafy greens into the mix and add a spoonful of Berry Bliss. This potent blend of superfoods packs more vitamin C than 10 oranges and is a phenomenal immune system booster. 

Once your smoothie's in the bowl, be sure to sprinkle on an assortment of superfoods like cashews and dried coconut for a satisfying crunch!

Gather This:

.

Do This:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender, pour into your favorite bowl, and top with superfoods like chia seeds, coconut shavings, + blueberries!

I'd love to see pics of your gorgeous acai bowls! Please share them with me on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie + #PhilosophieSuperfoods! 

Heart of the Week: Yoga Books for Kids

I'm often asked what yoga books I use with my kids so I wanted to share my favorites as today's Heart of the Week!

I've been reading these 4 books with Kai since he was a baby. Now he and Leo read them together, and I'll often come in and join them for a flow. It's so fun for all of us! 

When Kai was 4, he was even LEADING Leo through 25 minute yoga classes without any breaks! It's been one of the most beautiful + impressive things I've ever witnessed and just goes to show that it's NEVER too early to teach them.

Get started with your kiddies with these 4 incredible yoga books: 

1) Yoga Pretzels by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish

 

2) You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

 

3) Babar's Yoga For Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff

4) Little Gurus - A Yoga Discovery Book by Olaf Hajek (gorgeous pictures, no words but great for imaginative yoga)

I'd LOVE to see cute pics of your kids doing yoga. Please share them with us on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie!

Lemon Pie Smoothie Recipe

I LOVE me some lemons – especially in a dreamy lemon pie! Given that lemons are an amazing gift for your bod upon waking (the lemon water ritual does wonders), I thought, why not give the ol' pie recipe a makeover and transform it into the sunniest, supercharged smoothie you'll ever meet?

Not only does the brekie have plenty of lemon zing, it's also super creamy, courtesy of cashews, coconut, Coconut Dream, and almond mylk. And if you want to give your immune system a boost – especially if you're headed out to the desert for some wild living at Coachella, this is THE drink for you. It's got a spoonful of turmeric (which also adds a pop of golden color) and Berry Bliss, which features camu camu, one of the world's most abundant providers of vitamin C! 
.
Gather This:

.

Do This:
Blend everything in the blender and top with lemon zest!
What treat-turned-smoothie would you like to see next? Let me know on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie! 
this is sidebar