On the morning of December 25th, I woke up and found a wrapped present. The kindergarten I attended was on winter vacation, and I was staying at my grandfather’s temple.
“Wonder who’s this from,” I inspected the present.
Everyone at the temple was busy with usual morning chores, and I did not query any further.
The rest of the week, we cleaned the temple thoroughly and placed the mochi ornaments. Ringing in the New Year, my parents took me to a local Shinto shrine to pray for health and happiness. Once the holidays were over, I went back to my kindergarten, which was run by Sisters, and sang to the statue of Mother Mary.
Growing up in the culture of mixed religion was like living in third-omniscient POV with subplots. I was never condemned, judged, or forced. I was truly blessed.