After much pleading and nagging, I've convinced the infinitely-more-talented-than-me Oodgie to once again grace us with a post. Moved by the holiday spirit, she's agreed to share her Jewspective on this time of year. Enjoy...
Like any good Jew, I grew up coveting everything about Christmas. Way back then, of course, Hanukah wasn't even remotely what it's become today as we sorely lacked the shameless paganism which seems to have overtaken Christmas. Not, of course, to belittle the religious meaning behind the holiday, but since when did the mania start right after Halloween?
I wanted to celebrate Christmas so badly when I was kid that I actually went out and bought ornaments and hung them on the family ficus. My father, horrified by this gesture, quickly denuded the tree and delivered a terse explanation of why we don't do that sort of thing. With a heavy sigh, another lame holiday season went by.
Sure, sure, Hanukah (which no one really knows how to spell...Channuka? Chanukah? Hanukka?) IS a holiday and we DO get presents but come on, a dreidel? Really? And latkes with applesauce? And imitation chocolate that looks like money (and I'm sure that doesn't fuel any sterotypes)? It just isn't the same.
In college, my Christmas Envy took a turn towards bitter disdain when faced with a Jewish roommate whose family - both Jewish parents, mind you - fully celebrated Christmas. I'm not saying they put out a nativity scene or baked cookies and fought about who ate the baby Jesus, but they got a tree and exchanged a ton of gifts and that was enough to send me into a tirade on how wrong it was for them to do that. I even pretended I was motivated my an inflated sense of religious loyalty.
As I sailed into adulthood (or gave up the fight and stopped clinging to my youth) I continued to lust after pine and hams and lights and fat men dressed in red and basically All Things Christmas. While I believe I was open to the idea of marrying a fellow Member of the Tribe, well, I just never even dated one. Enter CroutonSpouse.
I like to think my choice in a mate wasn't clouded by my sordid, envious, Christmas-coveting past, but hey, who knows? These days, I'm the one who picks out ornaments when we travel somewhere (and we've got some doozies, we claim, for comedic relief). I'm the one who wakes up every weekend after Thanksgiving saying, "today? tree?" and who scrambles to prepare a holiday meal for a gathering that features 4 out of 5 Jews (apparently, since I'm Jewish, Israel says so is Cheeky and that's that). I keep telling myself (and my guilt-inducing relatives) that we'll celebrate Hanukah (Channuka? Chanukkah?) once Cheeky is old enough to understand the meaning of the holidays and also grasp the fact that what's inside, not the box itself, is the present. But I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Until then, a have a holly jolly Christamakakwanza!
PS - ...and a big HA HA HA to my college roommate, who, since marrying a more religious spouse, is no longer permitted to observe Christmas. Look who's caroling now....