Holiday(s) Quandry & Happy Hanukkah

in Essential Ramblings

So, the thing is, my family celebrates Christmas.  And we don’t do it small, we do it big, and tacky, and totally out of control.  My husband loves it, my kids go nuts, and I am somewhere in the middle watching them all love it.  They love the lights, the mystery, the magic, the family time, and of course the gifts, but I think the first three the most.  The anticipation is the biggest part of the fun — the set up and the crazy of the glittery wrappings that take over our life for one month of the year.  I love the innocence, the wonder and the resulting snuggles and hugs that come out of the magic that is the Holiday for us.

So, the quandry comes in that we have a lot of Jewish friends, and I know that this time of year can be hard for them.  Christmas is the most divisive, in your face Holiday and it is everywhere.  And even in a year when Hanukkah falls near Christmas, the difference is just what it is, a difference.  For their kids grappling with why these insane kids all believe in a red-suited man going down their chimney to why he doesn’t come down theirs — a religious differentiation surely, but really to a five year old…what in the world does the religion behind it mean?  It is just hard.  And for the parents who have to figure out how to explain it, how to make their decisions seem to make sense to these little people, SO hard.  I always want to make a nod to Hanukkah in my writings, but quite honestly, I don’t know what to say.  I didn’t grow up Jewish, have never been included in a Hanukkah celebration, so anything I say just sounds fake.  I want to write the gushy letter about lighting the candles, but I can’t write with feeling, so it sounds empty.  So, I don’t know what I am trying to say, except to my Jewish readers…I am not ignoring your beautiful traditions, I just don’t know them, and I feel your pain in dealing with ours for the past month, and although I can not express the beauty in words of what the Holidays must mean to your family, I am thinking of you with your families as you enjoy your traditions and watch the pleasure on your children’s faces — because that’s what all of this rigamarole is about after all isn’t it?  It is about making our kids happy, of creating traditions for our kids to remember as they age, of keeping our families happy and engaged and innocent.

My love and wishes are with all of our Jewish friends as they celebrate together this week…and as you tolerate the next few days of insane behavior from your gentile friends — we’re almost done with our tacky glamor I promise.  And we will then be on to the New Year together.

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