Saturday, December 24, 2005

A HinJew Christmas

My sister and I have a holiday tradition.  On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (or often both) we'll call each other and have the following conversation:  "Aren't you so bored?"  "Oh my God, I am SO bored!"  As non-Christians on Christmas, we don't feel left out, but we do love to wallow in how there's nothing for us to do.  As we both live in large cities now, there are of course, many things for us to do, but this tradition hearkens back to our upbringing in Oil City, Pennsylvania where the population was scant and we were two of maybe four Jewish kids in our entire school system.  There was NOTHING for us to do on Christmas.  One year, our local Pizza Hut held a Christmas Eve buffet and we decided to go.  We figured we'd be the only people there, so imagine our surprise when there was a line out the door.  My mother was outraged.  "What is wrong with these people?  Why aren't they home with their families celebrating?  Who the hell comes to Pizza Hut for Christmas?"  We continued that ritual for many years afterwards: the pizza, the salad bar, the righteous indignation. 

While I know many more Jewish people these days, most of them are in mixed families and generally Christmas is celebrated on some level.  I still have conversations with people who can't grasp the fact that we don't celebrate Christmas at all.  "But you still do Santa, right?"    Uh, no.  Their gaze lingers on me for an extra second and I know they are debating whether Social Services needs to be informed.  I know many people see Christmas as a mostly secular holiday.  Call me a stickler, but if it's got Christ's name right in the title, I think it's best reserved for Christians.  I'm sure not long ago there were similar debates: "Take back that candy...he was SAINT Valentine, for God's sake."   Oh well, turns out eggnog is a tougher sell than chocolate. 

As we don't celebrate Christmas, Ritu always volunteers to work.  This generally guarantees him time off at Thanksgiving and New Year's.  And sure, there are things the kids and I could go out and do, but I like having the excuse of Christmas to stay in and relax.  I blame the last minute crowds or tell the kids that everythingis closed and we hole up at home.  Tonight after dinner, we all sat happily in the kitchen with Christmas music playing on the radio. (I have a great fondness for Christmas music.  I blame my mother who can both harmonize Oh Come All Ye Faithful AND sing it in Latin.)  I was knitting and the children were working quietly at various art projects.  It was just like a Norman Rockwell scene.  You know, had he painted HinJews not celebrating Christmas. 

1 comment:

momdeplume said...

Well, doggone it, all the Jewish holidays start with family celebration the night before the big day (i.e. the eve, as in Christmas EVE) so it only seems reasonable that folks who celebrate Christmas ought to be doing something more spiritual than eating pizza and salad at Pizza Hut.

Of course, I only added this comment because it's Christmas Day and there's nothing for me to do....I'm so bored!!