December 4, 2012

Oh, Holy Festival of Lights

Away in a manger/ no pillow for his head, the little lord Moses played dreidel before bed
Hello, lovely readers!

I hope you haven't missed me as much as I've missed you.  Because, I confess, I've been missing you a lot.

So where was I?


That's right.  I wrote the first draft of a novel.

Oh right, that.
But what else was I doing?

You may recall from previous years, I am not a fan of Black Friday.  I find it borderline offensive that we make such a big deal out of buying at a perceived discount that we set aside an entire day that could have been actually spent with family.  A vacation day.  It boggles the mind.

Beyond that, I get agoraphobic, big box stores disorient me, and I would much much MUCH prefer to make an annual shopping event out of something like Small Business Saturday.  Which, I can happily say I did this year.  (Who has an awesome dress for an outdoor December-in-Minnesota wedding?  I do!)

But beyond that, one has additional gift giving concerns when one is Jewish.  Namely, that one can never be entirely certain that they have the dates of Channukah correct on their calendar, and so they'd better get their shopping done EXTRA early, just in case.

And this year, Channukah starts on Saturday.  Yes, THIS Saturday.

Two weeks after Thanksgiving, and two weeks before Christmas.

...and it's a week long holiday.

Now, you might also be aware that I am not a fan of Christmas in November.  I believe that each holiday deserves its due, and that Christmas doesn't eclipse Thanksgiving, Channukah, and New Year's Eve.  It's its OWN holiday.

But what to do about holiday decorating when one celebrates both Channukah and Christmas?  When they don't overlap, but are in the same month?  Do I forego the Christmas tree until after Channukah, putting it up only once the menorahs and dreidels are carefully stored once more?

In this house, that would mean four days between the end of Channukah and the beginning of our trip to M's parents for Christmas.  No, I don't think so.

And so, one does the best that one can to create an environment where Christmas and Channukah can coexist peacefully.  Not just side by side, but muddled together in one warm, happy family.

So what does that look like this year?

Behold- our holiday hoopla commences.
This is our mantle.  My grandmother's electric menorah, Channukah lights, new (and newly embroidered) Christmas stockings, our toy nativity scene, and our wooden toy menorah.

There's also a stack of books there that includes the Sesame Street Christmas Treasury, Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins, and a heap of other holiday themed books.

Our not-exclusively Christmas Tree
Then there's our Christmas tree.  It's the same four footer M and I have had since we moved in together, but it's covered in all sorts of multi-denominational ornaments.

Yes, that's a Christmas Angel and a happy Channukah Gelt.
Now, one thing that people have been asking us since before we got married was how we were going to handle a two religion household.  Wouldn't that be confusing?

I always said, no.  This will not be confusing.  It will simply be a fact of life.

I am beginning to learn I was wrong.

You see, there are a lot of patterns in the religious stories we tell, in pretty much all faiths.  Patterns help you learn, but they can also be confusing in of themselves.

Which is why my children are fairly certain that the baby in the manger in their nativity scene is actually baby Moses.

Oh- and all the animals around him?  They include a few unicorns and a dinosaur.

So what are my kids learning about the holidays?  That all their grandparents love them and are going to see them and play with them.

For three year olds, that's pretty much enough.

As for me?  I am ready to wrap, baby!  I have eight days worth of Channukah presents for three kids and more for all the grownups in the family, Christmas presents for children and family alike, stocking stuffers for not one but two sets of stockings, and even all my wrapping materials.

You know when that was done?

Before December.  And barely over budget.  Because I am a holiday rock star.

Now?  I'm just waiting for my cards to arrive from the printer, and preparing to bake my cookies.

And who doesn't want a meal of latkes, roast beef, sufganiot, Christmas cookies, and Channukah gelt?

The two holidays are lovely together.  Warm, merry, bright, friendly, and festive.

And I'm happy to be done with my insane November so I can be back here, blogging with you.

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  1. Sounds like a wonderful holiday season at your house! :)

  2. Reminds me a little of growing up, with a Menorah in the living room and an Xmas tree in the den. And now, we have both in our den, and my daughter sings Oh Hanukkah and Jingle Bells. Happy Holidays!

  3. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! Sounds like your house is full of holiday-ness right now. :)



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