It’s true. I admit it. I love the Christmas season. And yes, I’m Jewish.
Perhaps the Christmas spirit infected me when I was a kid. There wasn’t all that much in the way of big Chanukah celebrations when I was growing up and everything surrounding me was Christmas. I remember longing for what seemed like an incredible holiday that included decorations, trees, lights, Santa, and happy children. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!
I used to keep these shoeboxes in my closet that contained holiday decorations. I had one for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. The Christmas box contained a Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph candle, among a few other things. I recall one year my dad telling me that we don’t celebrate Christmas and I should take down the décor. Here I was, a lonely Jew, just wanting to be a part of this beautiful holiday season. Well my Dad’s words didn’t stop me then and they don’t now.
The magical season begins for me in November when Starbucks debuts their holiday drinks. There’s something magical about those red holiday cups. I race out to get the first of many gingerbread lattes and cranberry bliss bars. Maybe it’s something about the anticipation of waiting an entire year for these treats that makes them extra delicious. I don’t know. But I’m always excited to see the red cups and sad when they disappear.
And what’s the Christmas holiday special without the television holiday specials? As a kid (and still today), I’d look forward to How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Frosty the Snowman; and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Maybe if there was a token Hanukah Peanuts special I wouldn’t be so excited for A Charlie Brown Christmas.
And the music! I love Christmas music. I know many people (my family included) curse the radio stations for turning their line-ups to all-Christmas tunes. But I love it. I even listen to the Sounds of the Season channel on my television (much to Bryan’s chagrin). I sometimes feel guilty, like I shouldn’t be listening to music that’s associated with a holiday I don’t really celebrate religiously. But then I remember, it’s music. One can appreciate music no matter who they are.
Speaking of Bryan, I’m sure he (a lapsed Catholic) finds it completely ironic that he married a Jew and now hears Christmas music in the background of his home. Just last week, I asked him to help me hang some little white lights in the house and he’s wondering why his Jewish wife is hanging holiday lights and decking the halls.
Naturally with my love of baking, I embrace the Christmas season of baking as an excuse to bake cookies, fudge and several treats. Several years ago, I felt my office needed some cheer so I started our now-annual holiday cookie exchange. A fellow (Jewish) colleague asked me, “What’s a new Jewish girl doing coordinating a Christmas cookie exchange?” What, I asked her, Jews don’t like cookies?
So there you have it – why this Jewish girl loves the Christmas season. And even though I don’t celebrate Christmas in the religious sense, I do like seeing everyone’s enjoyment and happiness that surrounds this magical time of year. I like to take my cue from Charlie Brown and his little tree and embrace the holiday season. And with that, I’m off to work on my holiday cards.