A woman I was speaking to (I think she would describe herself as Conservative.) was telling me about some challenges she faces. She is genuinely concerned about giving her children a strong sense of their Jewishness. She mentioned that she gets very stressed out about it during December when all the holiday lights go up and some of her kids' friends have trees in their homes. This is not the first time I've heard Jewish moms express difficulty in this area. Another dad I met was at a loss, having moved recently from Israel, where he had never faced the situation before. He was hoping he could hide the whole issue from his kids, although how he planned to shelter them like that was unclear to me (or him, I imagine)!
I personally am glad to explain to my children about differences between us and Gentiles and I find that this season presents a good opportunity for that. Naturally, kids do get excited with all the lights and decorations and conspicuous fanfare surrounding Chrixtmas. That's perfectly okay. I tell them that the Gentiles celebrate the birth of their leader, JC, on Chrixtmas. He was a person who they think is a god. We know that G-d is not a person at all and it is avodah zara to believe so! One of the reasons that stores get into the "holiday spirit" with such vigor is to encourage people to buy lots of presents and spend more money. Also, even Gentiles who are not really religious celebrate the holiday. So that's alot of people celebrating so we see lots of Chrixtmas stuff around. Since we don't believe that JC is or was a god and that we don't want to do anything like avodah zara, we don't use Chrixtmas decorations or stuff like that.
Minorly related story: The other day, we were circling in the Publix supermarket parking lot for too long looking for a spot. Since I was with Ada getting ice cream, coming back later was not an option. When we had finally found a spot and we were walking through the lot towards the store, Ada wondered aloud, "Why is it so busy today? It's not even Friday!" And then, nodding her head wisely, "Ohhhh! I know why. They must be buying food for Chrixtmas!"