Oh Christmas tree
Oh Christmas tree
I have a tiny Christmas tree!
(pictures soon maybe)
Last night B and I bought our christmas tree, which is the first christmas tree I've ever had! (other then the ones we decorate at the in-laws, but those are their trees, not mine). It is a table top fake tree, and has these neat LED light things that change colors. Very psychedelic. We also got some of those generic colored glass ball ornaments, an ornament that kinda looks like Barkley (actually we got that one a few weeks ago), and one that has a space for pictures (B! I hope you are getting on that right now!) and says something like "first christmas together." Even though as B pointed out like 20 times in the store, it's not technically our first christmas together, but it's our first christmas together as a married couple, so yeah.
Anyways, I LOVE having a little tree in my living room! Somehow it makes the room all homey and festive. We also hung up some lights on our sun porch and we've been turning them on at night.
Growing up I obviously didn't celebrate christmas...it was always this thing that seemed happy and full of awesomeness to me, but was forbidden and was something that other people did. Later on I started celebrating it in a stereotypical jewish way- for a few years I had big parties on christmas for all my jewish friends, and a couple of years I did the chinese food and movie thing. My first *real* christmas was 2 years ago, at B's house.
I really really like it. All the lights and trees are really pretty, and I love how my neighborhood looks now with all the houses lit up. I love the gift exchange, and buying/making gifts for people is almost more fun then getting them! Getting a bunch of gifts at once is pretty awesome too- growing up my family wasn't much of a gift family, and getting a bunch of gifts at once is something I never really experienced until I started celebrating christmas (maybe at my bat mitzvah, but that's it). I would get maybe one present at my birthday, but usually would just get money to buy my own present, my parents would give gelt (money) for chanukah too. At a certain point my parents stopped giving anything at all to us, and started making charitable donations in our name around Chanukah time. They still do that in fact- I spoke to my dad a few weeks ago and he is going to donate to a battered woman's shelter in my name. Which is pretty awesome, I admit (Last year I asked him to donate to footsteps, but I don't think he actually did that). But you know what? Getting gifts is just nice dammit! And getting a bunch of cash is totally not the same!
I love getting together with family for a big meal too- B's family traditionally has a meal made up entirely of appetizers on christmas eve, followed by present opening, and then a big meal on christmas day. Having grown up in a Jewish family, and having a big meal every Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I really enjoy getting together for a big multiple-course meal. With only two of us at home, we don't really have a lot of opportunities for that, although we usually have a big breakfast together on Saturday mornings and we eat dinner together every night. But we don't even have a real table to eat at, so it's not the same. Once we have kids I'd like to start doing some kind of weekly big special family meal, along with having regular dinner together every night of course.
Is it weird that I feel no desire at all to celebrate any of the holidays I grew up with? I still like thanksgiving, which I grew up with, but all the jewish holidays...they just don't really hold any meaning for me. I guess becuase I always felt they were an obligation, or a restriction on things I couldn't do, but I don't remember feelings of excitement or joy about Jewish holidays that were similar to the way I feel about Christmas. I love Christmas!
Meanwhile I know chanukah starts sometime this week (which I found out from my calendar), but I have no desire to light my menorah, play with dreidles or eat latkes or sufganiot(jelly donuts). And I probably won't do any of those things, unless I happen to run into a chabadnik on campus giving out free latkes (because as a jew and a grad student, I can never turn down free latkes). On philosophical grounds, since Chanukah is a celebration of religion over Secularization/Hellenization, it seems someone wrong to celebrate it.
Also for those who eat latkes and also eat at mcdonalds- are the hash browns at mcdonalds breakfast totally the same as a thick latke or what?
Please no comments about how I'm a nazi/horrible jew/might as well convert to Christianity cause I'm such a goy now. You also can read about The true meaning of christmas over at B's blog.