Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

My relationship with Christmas has evolved since I became a Jew. In the beginning, it felt very weird to participate at all because it wasn't "my" holiday anymore. We have always celebrated with family because my mother would be devastated (and alone) if we didn't. But it didn't mean much to me.

I've taken a lot of heat for that. The majority culture celebrates Christmas and sees no reason why a Jew of any striped should not. But to my family Christmas is a religious holiday and it has taken some time for me to remove that context and just celebrate the season.

I guess that is part of being a Jew in the US--having the cadence of your holidays just be slightly off from everyone else's. That difference, that off rhythm feeling is part of Jewish identity.

This year I took my daughter to see Santa. It didn't occur to me that she has had no exposure to Santa and wouldn't know who he was. Stripped of that context it is a pretty weird ritual. I guess that I should have done some ground work, though I confess the Santa trip was an impulse--a photo op for the Grandmas (who were thrilled). I wonder at the difference between my daughter's childhood and mine--and I am finding myself weirdly glad that she is getting a touch of the fun of Santa. I doubt she will ever BELIEVE but she will get to have that magic anyway.

Tomorrow we will spend the day with people we love. We will get to watch our girl open up toys and have that excitement that only little kids can really muster. We will eat and nap and feel lucky all day. No matter what you celebrate (or not), I hope you can do the same.

No comments: