Passover? Sure, why not. I like the food and the opportunity to bring out my bag o' plagues, but I’m not staying Kosher for the duration.
Lent? Uh, no. I’m not so good at the fasting, repentance or sacrifice, which is why I pretty much also skip Yom Kippur until we get together at the end to break the fast and eat.
Rosh Hashana? Yes! I like the New Year, and apples and honey, too.
Epiphany? Oh yeah, baby. I celebrate this every year. January 6 is my birthday. You’re supposed to get drunk and sing karaoke on Epiphany, right?
And of course, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, because they are fun and I get presents.
Hanukkah is actually a non-religious Jewish festival, and there is nothing about the story of Hanukkah that indicates that presents should be given. It is the proximity to Christmas that sparked the gift-giving tradition, although my parents, being freakin’ conservative when it suited them, decided that they were not going to believe the hype.
So, for Hanukkah we got latkes and chocolate money. Maybe a pair of slippers or a hat that my mom knit if we were lucky.
That’s totally fine with me, and I have always felt a little self-righteous in my being denied the commercialization of yet another holiday.
So, on Hanukkah, we eat latkes, light our menorah, and sing ‘Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah’ because I can’t remember the proper prayers. I have never bought Bee a Hanukkah present, though in a demented turnaround of heart, my mom goes all out on Hanukkah presents for her grandchildren.
As I DID marry a righteous gentile (albeit one in denial of his gentile-ness), I reserve the right to poach as much of the Christmas spirit from his heritage as I please.
That means that, while we happily go to Chris’ parents over Christmas and let them go whole-hog apeshit on the holidays and spoil us with copious amounts of food, drink, gift and merriment, I like to inject a bit of the season into our lives too.
Like Christmas music. As a copywriter for a record company that does a huge seasonal business, I am saturated in Christmas music by July, and totally sick of it by August, but come December, when it’s been a few months and I don’t have to worry about cleverly and sentimentally describing it in print, I love listening to Christmas music. Love it. Love singing it too.
Here are my top 5 Christmas Music picks:
Christmas Canon in D – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Good King Wenceslas – The Skydiggers
Song For a Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies
Mary Had a Baby – Bruce Cockburn
I realize this is almost a completely Canadian list, with one Russian artist thrown in as a shout-out to my Gypsy heritage.
I also try to bake a lot at Christmastime. Two days ago I made Rice Krispie squares (They’re gone now. Yum.), and yesterday Bee and I spent the afternoon decorating and baking gingerbread and sugar cookies. That was fun, but don’t think I made the dough. No way. I bought the dough and we did the decorating. I am only 2-weeks post-partum, dudes. Speaking of which, I was nursing the little one when the timer went off on the cookies, so they are kind of burnt. Bee doesn’t seem to care, go figure.
I also like to decorate and wrap presents in fancy and creative ways, though I don’t know how much decorating I’ll be doing this year. And btw, I don’t mean putting some god-awful fake greenery on my door or a string of blinking multi-coloured lights in my window. I like a nice vase full of pretty ornaments, or perhaps a festive table runner and a bowl of pinecones. If you like the blinky-blink, blow-up kind of decorations, good on ya, and I like looking at houses that do that kind of thing. But I am just kind of pretending here, so I can’t rock it myself.
Although if Bee or the baby ever asks for one of these, I may have to acquiesce.