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Everyone Else Celebrates Christmas

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Momlogic's Michelle: I am a nice Jewish girl proud of my roots, but due to my incurable case of holiday envy, I tend to feel sort of left out this time of year.

woman daydreaming

The holiday season is here, or as I call it, "Everyone Else Celebrates Christmas." Hanukkah is awesome with its story of miracles, tasty latkes and eight nights of presents. But I can't shake the fantasy of decorating a Martha Stewart-worthy Christmas tree with my future husband (who in my head is a body-double for Patrick Dempsey) and sharing a kiss with him under the mistletoe while our beautiful children open their presents from Santa.

Yes, I envision your Christmas to be just like this, despite what you tell me to the contrary. It doesn't help that all TV shows and movies focus on the holiday during December. Even my favorite radio station switches from pop music to Christmas carols.

I realize that Patrick Dempsey and I could also have a wonderful season lighting a menorah and spinning the dreidel. It's just that it gets a little lonely when you're often the only one in your social circle not observing such a major holiday. That's why I love Thanksgiving. It sounds corny, but it's truly a special day unifying us as Americans regardless of our race, religion or ethnicity.

Two of my friends host an annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner in their L.A. apartment on the Sunday before the holiday. Around 20 of us attend prior to traveling to our respective hometowns. The hosts cook a humongous turkey, and the guests each bring a side dish or dessert (I make an exceptional salad) and squeeze together on the living room couch and in mismatched folding chairs to eat.

We come from varied backgrounds, but we have shared memories of dinners with all the trimmings and watching football with our families. We unanimously agree that it's important to finish the meal with pumpkin pie.

I'm thankful for these dinners, because they give me a sense of belonging, reminding me that American communities are special because they can be so varied. I'm grateful on Thanksgiving that I live in a country where I'm allowed to express my own beliefs -- even if those beliefs prevent me from living out my beloved Christmas fantasy.

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 6, 2010, 7:47 AM

Maybe you could host a Hanuakkah party for your friends? Every year I get invited to xmas parties but I have never been invited to a hannukkah party. I would love it. To experience new foods and new traditions would really be a great learning experience.

Andrea December 6, 2010, 12:09 PM

I read you, loud and clear. I’m Jewish, my husband is not, so we get “some” Christmas, and believe me, it’s not even remotely the way you’re dreaming about. As for Chanukah, I’m right there with you - so please, don’t be sad! You can still bake “Christmas-y” cookies, like gingerbread men, and add some stars of David in there! And email me if you want to chat!!!

Agustina Stonge December 7, 2010, 2:36 AM

You are a very capable person!

Royce Reeger December 7, 2010, 3:41 AM

You are a very smart person!

Marilee Wnek December 7, 2010, 4:08 AM

Hello.This post was extremely fascinating, particularly because I was investigating for thoughts on this subject last Saturday.

Steph December 7, 2010, 9:38 AM

Anonymous has a good idea. When I was a kid, my best friend in the neighborhood was Jewish. Every year at Hanukkah, her family would have mine over and her mother would make dinner, including delicious potato pancakes, we’d play dreidel for Hanukkah gelt, her mom made sugar cookies in the shape of a menorah (complete with a red hot at the top of each candle as the flame — I *loved* those!)

This gentile girl looked forward to that Hanukkah party every holiday season.

Monica December 7, 2010, 12:09 PM

Note: Not EVERYONE else celebrate Christmas.

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Anonymous December 25, 2010, 11:26 AM

So why don’t you decorate a tree one year if that’s what you want to do? You’re an adult, adults get to make their own decisions. Do you seriously think you’ll be damned if you do?

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