Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Jewish Christmas

Guess what we're doing today?

Yep, it's the Official Jewish Christmas. First, we wake up and facetiously wish everyone a Merry Christmas. That's the little judaic secret of December 25th; we all call each other and yell "Merry Christmas!" into each other's answering machines and then laugh like we didn't do it last year, and the year before that, and the year before that... But truth be told, it just doesn't get old. ;) Then we say, "What should we do today?" If you have an immune system, you say, "Let's go to the movies, the 11am show." If you're me, you say, "Let's fold laundry!"

After that, you take your kids to the Jewish Community Center for the kid's open gym and whatnot, just to pass the day. Then it's dinner time and that means Chinese food. Bambina is a huge fan of pork wontons, but she won't eat meat, so we just pull out the pork and let her house all 12 of the crispies (someone really should invent "Empty Wontons" for those of us who don't want the Other White Meat). Then she likes the tofu triangles, so we get some of those. Then of course the fortune cookies, which, fyi, were invented in California circa 1918, and are little-known on mainland China. But we like them anyway, especially because Bambina has a 75% record of getting "You have an unusually magnetic personality" from three different restaurant cookies in three states. Tell us something we don't know.

My only complaint this year is both a blessing and a curse. We have a family tradition of going out for a morning walk on Christmas. Everything is so peaceful, the streets are completely empty, and you feel completely at peace even standing in front of the usually crowded US Capitol. This year we live in a town with a larger Jew to Gentile ratio, so the walkabouts are less serene. But we figure that is a worthwhile tradeoff for finally not feeling like the only Tribe members in town every other day of the year.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe this! You claim to teach your daughter to respect others and go bonkers when you suspect any kind of negativity (curiosity?) around your or her religion/ethnic makeup yet you are teaching her--by example--to mock the traditions of another faith on one of their holiest days. What?!

Go ahead! Eat, drink, be merry, watch movies, and create this 'Christmas' tradition for your family...but consider omitting the hypocrisy.

E said...

Wow. I think you have completely misunderstood this post. There is no mockery of Christmas, my friend. There is just camaraderie of being among others who have nothing to do on that day. This is not a tradition of my creation. It has evolved because Chinese restaurants have generally been the only stores open on Christmas Day, so it has become the thing non-Christmas celebrators do. I think if you read other posts throughout the Decembers since 2004 you will see that I have nothing but respect for Christmas and those who celebrate. Can you tell me specifically what in the post gave the impression of mockery? I'm asking because I want to know, not because I'm challenging how you feel about it. I'm just a bit bewildered by your response is all since we've had very religious Christian friends away from home come and join us on Christmas Day; they have never expressed any offense whatsoever and I'd have been devastated if they'd taken any. But again, I'm not sure to what specifically you are referring in terms of hypocrisy.

Kat said...

I'm also not sure what was offensive or hypocrytical about the post. I'm a Christian who believes that Christmas is the birth of our Savior, I don't know E personally so I'm not coming from that perspective, and I can't figure out what she said that makes you feel mocked. It seemed like a good-natured throwaway post to me, no offense to your writing skills, E. Also not sure what someone asking about her kid's ethnicity has to do with this post either. my 2 cents.

E's Pal said...

I've gotta jump in here. I do know E and I'm thinking you've misinterpreted what she wrote. on one of their holiest days did E specifically mock? We're Christians and we get a call from her every single year on Christmas to wish us a happy day. Then I say jokingly, Merry Christmas to her and ask her if her tree is real or fake this year. Am I mocking her by wishign her a Merry Christmas when she doesn't celebrate it? or by joking about her not celebrating it? I think you may have missed the joking good natured intent behind the Merry Christmas wishes, if that's what did offend you. if someone wishes her a merry christmas in the grocery store is she to feel mocked by that? imagine if you were wished a happy ramadan, for lets be honest here, two full months by everyone you ever see in any public setting. why would joking about it among others who don't celebrate it be a mockery of those who do? let's also be honest, christian to christian. a holiday that is celebrated by 95% of the population, that is in stores and on TV for weeks and weeks before its actual date and is unavoidable and everywhere is not mocked by a few people wishing each other a Happy anything.
Im also going to say this. I wouldnt call anything E does about her kid "going bonkers." Who is mocking who here? My kids do not look like me. My biological kids. I am frequently asked rude questions by as you say "curious?"
strangers and it is intrusive in the extreme to the point that it upsets my kids 'why is that lady asking if you are my mommy?' what am I teaching my kids by "going bonkers" about those questions? I'm teaching them that simply being curious about something to do with a total strangers children does not entitle you to information about it. as in, you don't get to have everything that goes through your head come out of your mouth no matter how much you realy really just want to know how my kids were fathered. i'm off on a tangent here but your comment seemed kind of to imply that there is an equality between the issue of rude people asking personal informaitona about herr kids and you taking issue with some aspect of something to do with E's expression of Christmas. I didnt see the logic in connecting the two.

St said...

I have nothing to add to this strange conversation. I agree with the latter 3 posts (as a practicing Christian, Bible-college grad, no less)
And I hate anonymous comments, it's okay to make up a nickname for yourself.

agnostic said...

I got lunch, came back to my desk to net surf and damn if there isn't a mini tempest going on here. As E would call it a contretempts (sp?).

Anonymous, I'm not sure what the offense is either which is not to discount your feelings, honestly. My question to you is whether you are close with anyone who does not celebrate Christmas? Do you have friends or family who do not celebrate for whatever reason? I ask because the notion that Jews and others of non-Christian faiths including agnostics like myself go out to the movies and for Chinese food on Christmas is a very very common and non-recent one. E as interesting of a person as she is, mos def did not invent it. and it wouldn't have been going on so long if it was in any way offensive to people celebrating Christmas. my girlfriend's family, Christians, get Chinese food on Christmas Eve. It's their tradition- and one they also joke about. There is no war on christmas. Nothing and no one I'm sure stopped you and your family from enjoying every single part of the christmas holiday from start to finish. like the other commenter said, the massive, huge unstoppable christmas juggernaut of the united states will not suffer from those of us who choose to use the day to eat a restaurant, call each other, or otherwise find the humor in feeling like the only people in the town for one full day. how me doing my own thing on Christmas and finding it funny somehow mocks you is a bitof a mystery to me.