Are you really reading this on Christmas?
The better question might be: Am I really writing this on Christmas? Me, a nice Jewish girl? LOL!
But I guess it’s time to come out of the holiday closet.
I’ve been so relieved to learn that I am not the only Jewish person who grew up celebrating a (nonreligious) Christmas. It started with my grandmother who grew up in the little town of Maysville, Kentucky. Hers was the only Jewish family there. She felt seriously left out at Christmas. Not just the gifts the morning of, but all the preparations, excitement and sharing that went with it.
. . . Bummer.
She made up her mind that she would not do that to her children, and so, as soon as she married and had children, the family tradition began. I grew up celebrating/observing all of the Jewish holy days and holidays, including Hanukah, which usually lands in the month of December, but we also brought a (real) tree and the pungent smell of pine into the living room and made homemade decorations for it that began with glue and glitter on paper and proceeded to hollowed-out egg shells. (Mom made the shells; we decorated with glue and glitter). She also made origami figures (which we decorated with glue and glitter.) My favorite were the delicate pink and blue and yellow swans.
In the days before Christmas, I would squeeze behind the tree into my own private fairyland world of blinking red, green, and blue lights nestled in the tinsel-draped branches to make up complex stories involving the figures and ornaments. We also left cookies and a Coca-Cola for “Santa Claus,” but that was a facade for my younger siblings.
I, alas, had learned the truth too early. . . .
When I was 6 or 7 years old, an older friend ridiculed my explanation about the tooth fairy leaving me a quarter in exchange for my tooth. I marched home with the friend in tow and told my mother that I was not believed and would she please inform my smarty friend here of the TRUTH?
Caught, my mother confessed the Tooth Fairy was not real. In shock, I desperatedly demanded, “But what about Santa Claus? He’s real, isn’t he?”
That was the first time my world crumbled. (Sadly, it would not be the last or the worst. But those are not tales for Christmas Day.) And it did not stop me from squeezing behind the blinking, shimmering tree and creating my own worlds . . . and eventually writing them down.
Whatever Christmas means to you, I wish you MM (Much Merry) and dreams come true!
T.K. is a retired police captain who writes Books, which, like this blog, go wherever her interest and imagination take her.