Saturday, December 10, 2016

The True Meaning of Christmas

I wanted to write a saccharine think piece about the True Meaning of Christmas, but since I'm Jewish, I knew it would end up being about Chinese takeout and my kids crying that Santa hates them and candy canes are spicy.

Then I said fuck it, and decided to write it anyway.

According to David Duke's Twitter account, "NO! JEWS ARE NOT WHITE!" (caps in original), which these days I take as a pretty big compliment, though I could fool most people I'm afraid (not counting that lady at the pool who thought I was Asian). 

And even though I'm Jewish, I've never been opposed to celebrating Christmas, because Christmas is fun and Hanukkah is lame AF. Kids know this, we all know this. Look no further than Christmas bells, wrapping paper, gingerbread houses, peppermint bark, and evergreen trees as compared to the dry, beige and blue, theocratic, boiled-chicken and potatoes-vibe of Hanukkah. Basically, if Christmas and Hanukkah starred in a remake of Twins, Christmas would be Arnold Schwarzennegger and Hanukkah would be Danny DeVito. 

This is indisputable. 

The fact that I married within my non-existent "faith" was sort of a waste, since my parents wouldn't have cared if I married a Buddhist woman. They are atheist secular Jews of the Bernie Sanders/Larry David/outer-borough NYC-commie mold, and they couldn't care less if their only two grandkids believe in Santa and put an inflatable Frosty the Snowman on their front porch. 

Indeed, the last time I saw my dad set foot in a synagogue was about 20 years ago at the bar mitzvah of a boy whose wedding he went to last year. He used a yarmulke to clean his eyeglasses while rolling his eyes as far back into his head as they would go and "listening" to the rabbi deliver what he later described as "punishing, insipid platitudes."

That's not how it worked out though, because Geoff is Jewish and grew up with Jewish traditions, and is opposed to celebrating Christmas. On why we can't have a Christmas tree: ("We're Jewish. 'Christmas tree' literally has the word 'Christ' in it!"). On why Isaac had to be circumcised: ("I cannot have an uncircumcised penis running around our house. That is literally the LAST backstop of the Jewish tradition."). 

Personally, I've never felt it or cared all that much. As a kid, the True Meaning of Christmas was ice skating at a sparsely-populated Rockefeller Center first thing in the morning, eating dim sum on Mott Street in China Town afterwards, and maybe going to a movie in the evening. 

As an adult, the True Meaning of Christmas is watching everyone 's kids open presents on Facebook and sitting on Santa's lap, convincing my own kids we aren't horrible people and their lives won't be ruined because we don't celebrate Christmas, and frankly feeling like a little bit of a loser who doesn't really believe what she's telling her own kids. 

But as a good friend told me in taking Geoff's side on this topic, before Isaac was born and when Paige was very little, "there are worse things than non-conformity. and there's value in learning that you can't always be like everyone else." I took her advice to heart and I remember it every time I explain to our kids that Santa Claus is the least of their problems because after they finish fucking with the Muslims, Steve Bannon and Tomi Lahren and half their 16,000,000 Twitter followers want to murder us in our sleep for having dirty Semitic genes and being part of a global banking conspiracy.

And there you have it, folks. The "True Meaning of Christmas" think piece that all but wrote itself.  

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