I married a non-Jew. I’m not even a good Jew so I really shouldn’t comment, but there is one time of year when there is a HUGE difference between being Jewish and being a Christian, Christmas. It’s not that we don’t like the holiday. I love Christmas. What’s not to love? Everyone is happy, lights are everywhere, there are sales at the mall…all good stuff.
The real trouble comes in the decorating department. When you grow up Jewish, you just don’t know how to decorate. Decorating for Hanukkah consists of taking out the menorah and putting in 2 – 9 candles over the course of 8 days. There, done, complete. Holiday decorations are taken care of. Contrary to popular jokes, there is no Hanukkah bush to put up and decorate.
This year, I told my wife (again) that I truly hate decorating for Christmas. It’s not that I’m not willing to help out, it’s just that I hate it. I hate going to the DMV, but I’m still going today to renew my license. I think part of the difficulty is that we Jews lack the gene to decorate. We don’t know that you can’t put 2 Santa ornaments within 8 inches of each other. We don’t know that the mistletoe has to dangle down below the frame of the door (we don’t know how to spell mistletoe either. Thank god for spell check). We don’t know that there is no substitute for icicles on the front of the house or that the 2nd story lights are just as important as the rest of the house.
But, we do what we can do to accommodate and assist in the holiday traditions. My wife used to always say that she would do my Jewish things to support me as a way of convincing me to do the Christmas things that I hated. Somehow, I don’t think she’s going to fast on Yom Kippur, set up an outdoor palm-thatched patio cover on Sukkot or eat gefilte fish on Passover. Hell, I don’t even want to eat the snot fish on Passover.
So every year, I go shopping on the day after Christmas to buy up all the 50% off lights that I can. And each year, I use them in more and more creative ways in order to make up for the fact that decorating the tree has now been compared to going to the DMV. A point which I know she will point out every year going forward.