Today’s guest post Friday topic is “The Holidays”. I have no idea why, but I’m sure my neighbor who just put fake reindeer antlers on her Toyota Camry does. Marinka’s very funny post about holiday icebreakers is over at Jessica’s today.
My “How to Make Gingerbread Men” is at Marinka’s. (And since I wrote this last December, if you’ve seen it before, that must mean you’ve been reading my blog for a year. Which means I now owe you a cheese log and a referral to a good therapist, so please send me an e-mail with your details.)
And Jessica’s hilariously thoughtful take on Christmas v. Hanukkah is right here. Oy.
CAUGHT BETWEEN A CANDLE AND A CRAZY PLACE
By Jessica Bern
I was at a friend’s house the other day talking about how much Hanukkah blows in comparison to Christmas, especially now that I have a kid. So in an attempt to make me feel better, my friend said to me:
FRIEND: Well, then, don’t just light the candles and toss her a gift. Get a book about the story of Hanukkah, then sit down and read it with her. I’m sure if she knew more about it, it would mean more to her.
Now, I’m going to have to disagree here. Jewish holidays are tough. Why? Because if you think about it, the story behind every one of them is incredibly depressing. Every story, it’s the same: “Well, there were the Jews and then one day these people came along and, of course, they wanted nothing more than to get rid of said Jews, so they started a war, bang, bang, bang, the Jews were in big trouble, things didn’t look good, yada, yada, yada, and the next thing you know, the Jews won, and well, happy holiday.” Try sitting around a fire and telling that to your five year-old.
When I reminded my friend of this, all she could say to me was:
FRIEND: I hadn’t thought about it that way. You’re right, you are f*&#ed.
I grew up in the only Jewish family on our entire block. I was SURROUNDED by Christmas. I always envied the other kids sitting at home with their families, ripping open tons of presents, the smell of some kind of pork dish wafting through the air, everyone singing Christmas carols, carols that everyone in the entire world knew the lyrics to. To this day, I’ve never walked into a store and heard them playing songs like, “Oh, Chanukah, Oh Chanukah”. I used to wish, just once, that I could watch as a salesgirl tapped her foot to the wonderful rhythms of my personal Hanukkah favorite, “Dreidel, Dreidel” or catch her unlocking a dressing room door all while mouthing the lyrics to “Maoz Tur”, both the slow version and the hip-hop one.
It’s no surprise that I married a non-Jew. Got fourteen Christmases out of it. But now that I’m divorced, it would be too weird. Plus, I have no dsire to ever again attempt to wrap up the lights, a task which never accomplished anything except to remind me and my parents that perhaps sending me to a “regular” school wasn’t really in my best interest. Then again, I could do like my neighbor who had the bright idea of not only buying a fake tree, but decorating it and then never taking it down, EVER. It’s amazing. Every year, for the past few years, from January through November, the guy’s considered a nut job, but then starting Thanksgiving, “he’s not crazy, he’s just getting an early start”.
Personally, I think he’s on to something.