When Hal and I first got together/pregnant/married (because
it all happened, pretty much on the same day) we discussed whether or not we
would raise our unborn baby Jewish. To Hal it was important we subscribe solely
to Jewish tradition, dropping all the Hallmark mass-marketed Christmas crap,
which I was cool with because YEAH! Screw Hallmark! Screw the man!
Raised in a predominantly Jewish household myself (my father
is Jewish and my mother was raised celebrating all religions. Her father was
Jewish which means I’m technically ¾ Jewish which means technically our kids
are 7/8 Jewish which is pretty majority, then again, my mother’s mother wasn’t
Jewish so technically, I’m not Jewish. Technically, I’m also very confused, but that’s kind of per usual these days so eh.)
That being said, I’ve always identified culturally, even spiritually with Judaism, no matter how infrequently I
attended Temple. (Twice a year?)
And yet, even still, there’s no denying I’ve always been a HUGE
Christmas person. I love caroling and dressing the Christmas tree and
gifts in the home-made wrap I make out of recycled back-issues of
listen to Christmas music the entire month of December and wear my
socks year round. I love Christmas lights and wreaths and mistletoe and
elves and bows and fake snow on the rooftops of nativity scenes. I love
So when Hal said to me, “No Christmas!” I said. “Okay, cool. I totally understand.” but
inside I was screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
After many tears and much debate we compromised on
celebrating Hanukkah in our house and Christmas with my family, which was
fine with me and totally awesome because
I would our kids would have the best of both worlds, I’d still get to
inhale pine for one week out of the month and Archer could experience the magic
of Christmas morning c/o presents from my parents.
We both agreed that Santa was out of the question,
unnecessary and totally stupid.
“Why would we lie to our kid about Santa? How lame!”
“Right? Stupid, stupid. So very silly.”
That was before Archer was old enough to understand who Santa Claus truly was – a magical man who wore red (Archer’s favorite color!) and LOVED giving presents to all the boys and girls! I mean… come on. How could we NOT let Santa into
our my parent’s home? The dude is AWESOME. And surely he loves all children, regardless of their religious orientation, right? Surely, it wouldn’t hurt for the son we’re raising Jewish(ish) to love him back? Or so I thought to myself quietly.
… up until I came home Sunday night to find Archer’s handwritten letter to Santa Claus (thanks to Hal who helped Archer with spelling) and a brand new (and already quite bent-up) copy of The Polar Express, a book Archer fell in love with at school and Hal bought for him while I was away.
“What’s this?” I said to Hal as I put down my bags.
“Archer wrote a letter to Santa,” he said. “Isn’t it cute?”
“I thought we weren’t going to do Santa?”
“Yeah, we weren’t but whatever, it’s fun.”
That’s the thing about Christmas – it’s fun. And compelling. And fun. And for us
non-religious, interdenominational, culturally ambiguous types, that’s kind of what matters most.
To us, anyway.
L’chaim, Mr. Claus.