To Christmas or not to Christmas

This is our first holiday season as a family and much like my father was with my mom, my hub is hell-bent on the NO CHRISTMAS TREE policy. I married a Jew, just like my mother and her mother before her. What can I say? We have a thing for chosen peeps.

In all matter-of-fact terms, blood wise I am 3/4 Jewish, so REALLY, I am kind of a chosen person too. We grew up celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. My mom held a neighborhood non-denominational "bible"study in our house and we learned about Buddhism, took field trips to the Self Realization Fellowship and studied the Koran as well as both testaments. We went to temple on Thanksgiving and attended Mass a couple of times on Christmas Eve. My Mom wanted us to know what was out there so we could make up our own minds about God, religion and spirituality.

Every year my Dad puts up the Christmas lights, slightly peeved. As kids my brother and I convinced him that we HAD to have Christmas lights because everyone else on our street had them and our house looked like the black hole/antichrist of excitement and holiday cheer. (I grew up on one of those cul-de-sacs where every house had a giant inflatable Santa on the lawn, and porcelain mangers with life size baby Jesus' asleep in the manger, and the Three Kings of Orient on the rooftop, feeding Santa's foam, reindeer carrots, and the green fog machines sang Christmas carols, etc). When my parents were first married, the Christmas tree was a BIG no-no but my Mom insisted and my Dad surrendered. He surrendered to us (my brother and me) as well and my poor father is probably on the roof as I write this, stapling Christmas lights around the windows, humming "deck the halls."

Now it's my turn. My old man isn't exactly thrilled with my insisting we have a Christmas tree. He never had one so why should we? After this years' tragic events it feels almost sacrilegious to celebrate a holiday where we all give gifts to our non-needy relatives, while the people who are in need, hold out their empty hands, but I digress... I just want a friggin Christmas tree, aight?

"No lights, though!"
"Fine."
"Stockings?"
"Hmmmmm."
"Okay, maybe next year."
"But where will we put a Christmas tree?"
"Anywhere.... Pretty please (cute face) with a cherry on top?"

In all realness, I would be happy to skip Christmas altogether and become a bonafide chosen-one with a chosen-one family, but I'm just not ready to give up old traditions. I honor my father's roots and light the Menorah all eight days of Hannukah. I attend the family Passover Seder and read from the thirty-page book my Grandpa prints out every year, and although my mother's roots were certainly interdenominational, there was a Christmas tree in our house growing up and it was magic! The smell and the sparkling ornaments and the pine needles everywhere. I have never had a white Christmas or a white winter or a white wedding so the Christmas tree gives December a cozy feel. And now that I have a family of my own, I would like Archer to experience the fond memories of my childhood.

It was one thing living with drunk roommates in a three bedroom party house. I was never feeling festive in those days and if i was I just bought a little mistletoe and ran around town. But now...?

The question (argument) remains: How will we raise Archer? With Christmas or without? As Jew or Gentile? I am leaning toward D. All of the above.

GGC

7 comments:

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 3:05 PM

p.s. Archer in his Daddy's yarmulke (when he was a baby) Too much.

Lilli | 11:48 PM

I can relate to this one more than you know. Growing up in a Jewish family where my entire father's side of the family was hardcore Christian... things were interesting during childhood. Until my brother was about 7, he would go around telling all of his friends that he was half Jewish/half Christian. My mom would correct him over and over, "No you're not, Alan. You're Jewish." But it was hard to understand for a little kid, when we did celebrate both holidays. My dad's parents would always stress Christmas and what it was about, and even try to convince us to attend church with them. My mom wasn't thrilled, but it was the price she was willing to pay... because when you marry someone, you marry their family. My dad's side of the family was less than thrilled when my dad married a Jew, so same thing. :) But yeah, I can relate to little Archer. And even though things were complicated, Christmas is always all around, and it's nice to atleast get some of the benefits of a holiday that might not happen to be consistent with your religion. The Christmas spirit is always so warm, little Jewish kids can feel left out if they can't partake in the holiday at all. I always shared my Hanukkah gelt with my Christian friends! :)You can get the best of both worlds! Anyway, we never had a Christmas tree... but I say, why not! I'm tempted to put Christmas lights around my apt balcony just b/c it looks pretty! Love you! Have a Merry Chrismukkah!

tif | 9:26 AM

let the hubby rest assured the xmas tree is pagan :)

Dutch | 10:07 AM

I wish I was a jew so I could complain about christmas with impunity. this holiday blows.

the weirdgirl | 12:28 PM

I agree, there is something magical about having a tree in the house... the smell especially, and the lights. (I don't really associate the tree much with Christianity... just with the crass commercialism, thank the lord.) How about teaching Archer that the Christmas tree is druidic and have one anyway?

P.S. I tried posting this yesterday but was having Internet issues.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:34 PM

haha! "and oh how they danced... the little elves of christmas, beneath the haunted tree..."

llamaschool | 8:15 AM

We're putting up a tree for the first time this year. It's especially freaked given that both fall on December 25; I think it's a little easier to ignore Christmas when Hanukkah falls earlier.