12.07.2007

'Tis the Season. Oy Gevalt.

One of the nice things about being the matriarch (ha!) of a blended family is that I get to pick and choose the holidays that I want our family to celebrate, and I get to pick and choose how we celebrate them.

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.

Kidding.

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.

However,

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.


yes, it is the middle of the afternoon and Bee is still in her pajamas. We love that kind of day.


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.

Merry Christmukkah!


***

25 comments:

  1. I'm the mixed one--and an atheist to boot. It cracks me up that my very gentile mother-in-law is so careful to make sure we celebrate Hanukkah in order to represent both sides of my son's heritage. Trillian has converted me to enjoying the Christmas traditions.

    And the Barenaked Ladies song is perhaps my favorite version of a Christmas carol!

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  2. My very, very favorite outdoor Christmas decoration is the one with the reverent Santa kneeling over the Baby Jesus. I've been known to just about kill myself laughing when I see those...
    At two weeks post-partum, I was still lounging around in bed bossing everyone around, so good for you.

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  3. I have to thank you for sharing your modified menorah-lighting blessing. I used it tonight - it went down as good as any.

    I completely forgot about the Skydiggers. I have to dig out an old album now.

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  4. Oh Happy Chrismakah! And, omigosh do you ever look FABULOUS 2 weeks postpartum!!! I don't shed anything (without a LOT of work) until I stop nursing....!

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  5. The Skydiggers' Good King Wenceslas is my fav.

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  6. Oh, look how cute the two of you are!

    We're going to a Christmukkah party tonight.

    I'm not sure what kind of hostess gift to bring. A Kosher fruitcake?

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  7. Holy crap you look good! I wouldn't know you just had a baby! I'm jealous. Five weeks in and I'm still huge.

    I like Mary's Boy Child from Boney M.

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  8. I love celebrating both holidays.

    I made sweet potato latkes this week and lulu loves to pick out the small coloured candles for the menorah with her dad.
    She loves the chocolate money and even spins a mean drediel.
    I doubt we will put up a tree this year, but I too am a sucker for the Christmas music.

    I have almost everything on your list.
    also love
    Amiee Mann-one more drifter in the snow
    Emilie Claire Barlow-winter wonderland
    Ella Fitzgerald-ella wishes you a swinging holiday
    and the always classic
    Vince Guaraldi- a charlie brown christmas

    happy christmukkah!

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  9. The Skydiggers. I'd forgotten about them.

    I'm not a big Christmas music fan. I love decorations and decorating and all that jazz, but the music? Nah.

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  10. McH and I are gonna go all Griswald on the 'hood. For Cakes sake, you know.

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  11. Everyone is inspiring me to decorate and bake stuff. That is a really nice photo and OH MY HOLY HECK you do not look like you had a baby just a few short weeks ago!

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  12. you are this joyous bundle of holidayness. i love it.

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  13. Ho ho ho that grinch is fab!

    I cannot believe given your halloween decor you are not all kitschtacular for xmas. (w btw my cheapo parents claim to be a crass commercialization of the baby Jesus' birth and hence, no gifts for us.)
    Two weeks lady - you look teeny! I am v jealous bc I lost the baby weight and now have gained the, um, baby stress weight?

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  14. It cracks me up that you even mentioned Epiphany. I think I'm going to start celebrating that to... In your honor.

    And very cute picture of the two of you. Looks like lots of fun.

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  15. I think at my house we have perhaps a similar blend but opposite percentage of holiday spirit from both faiths - it was my dad's family who were Jewish and my mother the gentile, so my kids have even less of a blend than I, but now that I'm the mom we are all out for Christmas and Easter and I do all the Jewish feasts that involve food b/c my father's aunts sent my mother to Jewish Cooking School after her honeymoon was over - so I really remember no prayers at all but I can make latkes, challah and a seder. My children like to sing happy birthday to the menorah and we are working very hard at learning oh hanukkah and "blessed are thou..."

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  16. WE're doing the decorating this weekend. Pumpkinpie is crazy for christmas lights right now. Misterpie is happy to oblige. I' am happy to stay out of the way and read blogs.

    But can I just say how oddly that picture makes you look like Sarah Silverman?

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  17. i friggin' love you and this post.

    AND YOU LOOK AMAZING!

    eat some gingerbread for me.

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  18. Wow K you look so good for 2 weeks post!!!
    Christmas Canon in D my favourite followed closely by How the Grinch stole Christmas soundtrack!

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  19. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas too me lovable little elf princess!

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  20. we are big chrismukah fans in our house. while both the husband and i are jewish, my brother is pentecostal and my sister is agnostic and my stepmom is a nonpracticing christian...we are all over the place.

    i love being able to teach my children about both hanukah and christmas...and they get a little taste of both ;)

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  21. I like the lights and the food and the time together. Other than that I bring everyone down with my cynicism around the season.

    xo

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  22. I have developed a newfound love for latkes as of this year's holiday, and can I just say that, despite the post-latke heartburn, I'll be eating them again?

    yum-o.

    also, Christmukkah is happening around here, too, and we dig it muchly. esp. J, 'cause he's all about the chocolate coins.

    that photo is delicious. you're hurting us with the cuteness. I'm good with that kinda pain, though.

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  23. That whole Cockburn album...love it. And [gasp] I don't think I've ever heard The Skydigger's version of Wenceslas. But now I'll have to.

    And your blended holiday traditions are kicking my ass right now. You'd never know 'tis the season around here, except for Mme L's desperate requests that we decorate our house. Poor, deprived child.

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  24. Life should be more about the best of everything. I like the way you roll...

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  25. The Twelfth Night of Christmas (the night before Epiphany) is traditionally celebrated with looooots of drinking. See? You were being traditional and you didn't know it.

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