December 19, 2011

Santa on Sunday, Menorahs on Tuesday

The girls meet Santa
I've frequently found myself realizing that parenthood is a series of lessons about how you are just plain not the most important person in your life.

Yes, marriage is a similar series of lessons.  But nothing compares to parenthood in this respect.

And it's not just about your own nuclear family.  It's about your larger family- your friends, the people you surround yourself with.

Santa with a scotch and a stogie
I suppose what I'm getting at is that very few of our friends have children.  And, like many adults in their mid-20s, our friends have largely made the choice either not to have children at all or to wait until later to get started.

But that doesn't mean that there are parts of having kids around that they don't really want to get in on.

Take Santa, for example.  When M and I were first married, our friends B&K offered to be our kids' personal Santa and Mrs. Claus.  I had every intention of making them keep their words.

Apparently, so did they.  Last year the girls were still too young to have any sort of idea what was happening, but this year they were deemed old enough.

B&K became BK&K Inc. (this is another story for another time).  B&K's resident elf made the costumes (including her own elf costume) and the three of them came over yesterday to introduce the girls to Santa Claus.

As you can imagine, the girls were initially terrified.  But unlike those awkward mall Santa moments, our kids had the fortune of being the ONLY children present.  What's more, they were home.  Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elf knew what they liked and had presents for them.  And most importantly, Mommy and Daddy were obviously friends of these weirdos in costume.

It took about an hour, but by the end of it SI and DD were totally crazy about Santa and Mrs. Claus.  It only took about ten minutes for them to decide the elf was awesome.

I had a blast.

I know, I'm a bad Jew, right?  But the fact of the matter is that M is Christian, and the girls are going to grow up with Christmas, as well as Easter, as important annual events.  I don't think that having annual traditions for things like Santa Claus is exactly going to undermine the lessons of Hebrew school or Sabbath on Friday nights.

And even more important than that, some of our best friends in the whole world want to do this for our kids.  They want to spend the next two decades dressing up, visiting with our family, and treating our children like the most important people in the world.

And they have competition.  Our friends D&A, who plan on never having children of their own, also want to take turns playing Santa and Mrs. Claus.  It looks like we might even have dueling Santas a few years, which is fine with me.  BK&K and D&A are some of our favorite people, and they're around as much as we can have them.  It won't be long before SI and DD (and also Baby X) figure out that Santa is a game that grown-ups like to play, and that really they're doing US a favor by playing along.  Which, frankly, seems to me like pretty much the healthiest way I can think of to keep them from the heartbreak of being lied to about something as important as Christmas.

SI and Santa
So now they're pretty excited about Santa.  They don't think he's going to bring them presents, they think he's the awesome bearded dude who hands out candy canes and likes his scotch neat.  They think Mrs. Claus reads picture books, and that they elves play fun games with sleigh bells.

As occasionally anti-Christmas as I can be (I'm no Scrooge, but I do think that no 1 day holiday deserves a full three months of saturation), I can't deny how much my heart melted when SI asked Santa to help her put her own sleigh bell on the tree.

Santa for the weekend, and now Channukah starts tomorrow.  As they absolutely LOVE candles, I'm optimistic that they'll be at least as enthusiastic about Channukah as they are about Christmas.  This year, anyway.

And more than anything else, they have a better bead on these holidays than anyone else I know.  Yes, they love opening presents.  They love the snowflake stocking hooks on the mantle, they love the stockings, they love watching "The Grinch," and exclaiming over the "pretty lights" on the Christmas tree.  They love the Channukah gelt, they love the menorahs, which we've gone ahead and lit candles on a few times.

DD and Santa
But ever since we started talking about Christmas and Channukah, they've started every morning the same way.  "See Grandma?  See Grandpa?  See Grandmommy?  See Poppa?"

"Yes, my sweet little monkeys.  We'll see Grandma and Grandpa this week for Christmas.  We'll see Grandmommy and Poppa next week for Channukah."

"Yay!  Too much fun!"

Indeed.  Too much fun.  :)


  1. We just got back from an early family Hanukkah celebration. My daughter helped light the candles and carried around a bear that sings the dreidel song all weekend long. On Wednesday, we'll do Hanukkah with friends. Next weekend, she'll have Xmas at my in-laws and then at my grandparents'. She knows they are two separate holidays and that we celebrate them both because each parent celebrates one of them. And while I'm Jewish, I wouldn't miss Xmas with my grandparents for anything. Happy holidays!

  2. That is an awesome idea to have Santa come to the house. The girls are beautiful. It is amazing how important friends (and family too) become, especially when you have kids. We are very grateful for all of our special friends who love making our daughter feel special. Happy Holidays!

  3. Sounds like your little ones are having a great holiday season. We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our house, too. While my daughter primarily celebrates Christmas, she is also always really excited about celebrating Hanukkah, too. She realizes how special it is that she is able to celebrate both holidays and loves sharing them with her friends.

    Have a nice holiday season!

    Mel S

  4. I don't think you're a "bad Jew" at all!! Heck, I know a lot of Christians that refuse to take their kids to see Santa. I just think it's fun! Glad I found your blog on MBC.

    Jessica @

  5. Lots of love for you guys.



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