Don’t hate me because I’ve finished my holiday shopping.
Yes, I’m pretty much done, and I say “pretty much,” because there always seems to be someone you have to buy a gift for at the last minute because you bought so-and-so a gift and you can’t give so-and-so a gift without giving you-know-who a gift. So it’s very possible I may not quite be done. But I’m close to done. Officially done.
We’re a two-holiday (Chanukah, Xmas) family, and truth be told, I sometimes feel like a traitor to my people for this, especially now that my child attends a Jewish school. But the guilt I feel about celebrating Xmas is nowhere as terrible as the guilt I’d feel if I took Xmas away, so I continue celebrating, doing my best to tamper down the nagging nay-saying to bask in the enjoyment of our little tree and my child’s anticipation and excitement.
You may very well wonder: But why do you celebrate Xmas if you’re Jewish? Here’s the deal: My husband’s family is Catholic. We fly to California when we can to celebrate Xmas with them, but this isn’t possible every year. In fact, not only did we spend “The Holidays” in California last year, but Jonah and I flew to the Bay Area for a wedding this summer.
So a trip in December was financially out of the question.
I knew from the very start how the scenario would play out. So when our son was still a baby, I said to the hub-sand, “What are you going to say on the years we can’t make it to California? ‘Xmas is cancelled this year’?”
This is one of the odd things about my husband and me: I’m the Jew and he was raised Catholic, but I’m the one who campaigned to celebrate Xmas. He would have been happy to give it up.
He is a much better Jew than I.
Oddest of all, though, is why any of this is an issue. Why do I feel the need to explain our reasons for celebrating Xmas? Why are there people who are offended by those of us who celebrate the holiday in a secular way? Why does anyone care, really, what anyone else celebrates? And when I say “care,” I mean “care” in a “I’m-judging-you” sort of way, not an “I-wish-you-a-lovely-holiday-even-though-I-don’t-celebrate-that-particular-one-myself” sort of way. The small-brained “war on Christmas” argument rages every year at this time and is so utterly inane and full of ill will it makes me want to kick someone. (Bill O’Reilly or Sarah Palin would do nicely.)
Ignore the haters. Have yourself a merry little whatever the heck you choose.
It’s snowy and icy today and Jonah’s school was called off; thus, I am still in my jammies, comfortably gazing out our windows at the flakes of snow that are cascading through the air like bits of paper dropped from a great height. The hub-sand came home and took the little guy—who was, quite literally, bouncing off the walls (and floor, and bed)—outside.
When they got home, Jonah was sopping wet but exuberant.
“I invented a new game,” he announced. “It’s called Meatballs.”
“How do you play?” I asked.
“There are globs of snow and they’re called meatballs. The person who throws the meatballs is called the meatball server. The other person is called the patient. The patient tries to dodge the meatballs. It’s okay to kick them away and it’s okay to slap them away. It’s also okay to grab them and crunch them. But anything beside that, if you get hit, you lose 10 points. You have a hundred points in the beginning. If you get hit ten times, you have to switch. And then the meatball server becomes the patient and the patient becomes the meatball server.
“I was the patient and Papa was the meatball server. It was so fun. I didn’t get hit even close to ten times.”
Those are some tasty meatballs.