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So This Is Christmas

It’s Christmas Day, and Simon’s arrival has put a decidedly new spin on things.

Like most Jews that I know, I have a complicated history with the holiday. As a kid, I loved that it got me out school for two weeks, but didn’t always relish standing out from the crowd. And believe me, when you are cast as the dreidel that shows up for a two-minute cameo performance in the school Christmas play, you stand out.

By the time I hit my teens or so, I entered a more bitter phase. I was sick of the two-month buildup to the holiday and found Christmas Day itself to be a lot like house arrest: nowhere to go and nothing to do other than hit a Chinese restaurant and bump into all the other bored Jews in the city.

When I went off to college, I began spending Christmas with dear friends and their families and got into the season. It still wasn’t my holiday, but it was a good time. It’s hard to resist pretty evergreen decorations, almond and cranberry studded bread, eggnog, classic carols, cheery midwinter lights, and thoughtful presents. So why try? Instead, I began celebrating Christmas as a bystander, enjoying it while maintaining a safe emotional distance.

Now I have a son with Christian grandparents and my relationship with Christmas is about to get much more intimate. I can’t just let my inlaws do everything–if we’re going to celebrate Christmas as a family, then the Matthew G. Whitworth portion of the family had better step up to the plate and start co-hosting the festivities. And I’m not leaving it all up to Matt, either. I have opinions about trees, decorations, and menus. If we’re doing this, we’re doing it my way!

Last night was my first forray into the holiday, as we hosted Christmas Eve dessert and present opening. Everything I served was store-bought, which isn’t much fun, but I got out my china and tried to make things look festive. Next year I won’t have an infant in the house and will be able to do it up proper. Next year I will also have a tree, for which I have three brand new ornaments.

So what did Santa bring me last night? So glad you asked. I got a new light fixture for my dining room, a lit mirror that I needed desperately, a wearable blanket, a knitting book…

…and a beautiful menorah.

Merry Christmas!

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