Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Exotic Christmas?


Christmas lights all around.


I have two close friends who, like me, are Jewish. Unlike me, they feel “excluded” at the sights and sounds of Christmas.

We’re the kind of Jews who don’t do “Hanukkah Bushes.” I’ve been guilty in the past of overdoing Hanukkah presents for my kids instead of Hanukkah Gelt, the traditional giving of money without fancy wrapping.


I now relish the modesty and wistfulness of our holiday of winter lights with a single Hanukah menorah and something fried.

My two friends grew up in a Christmas majority culture. I had the advantage of having grown up where Hanukkah was at home as well as on the streets, and Christmas was something you had to seek if you wanted to spot any of it in certain quarters.

Hanukkah was commonplace; Christmas was exotic.

For me, It still is, . I’m delighted looking at this celebration of lights, plethora of glistening wrappings under trees, music that mixes old beauty with some sappiness, and lots of people trying hard to look cheerful in colorful sweaters.

Unlike my two friends, I’m very comfortable being an outsider looking in. Christmas is exotic, still.

No need to say Happy Holidays to me. Your Merry Christmas is welcome. I’ll say it right back to you, and mean it.



Kelly Hashway said...

I'm with you. I don't care if people say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc to me. Say whatever works for you because you wishing that to me shows you care, and I'm happy to receive those wishes.

Vijaya said...

Mirka, I had to laugh about the exoticness of Christmas. Diwali is the big festival of lights in India. Christmas was a quiet affair at home with reading of the Christmas story, special sweets, and church, if we could get to it. Thank you for the Christmas wishes and a merry one to you too.

janlcoates said...

Hi, Mirka: Occasionally I see your new posts on Twitter - nice to see you're still out there! We've had the great gift of two new granddaughters within this past month - Christmas will never be the same for me! I hope all is well in your corner and that Omicron is giving you and yours a wide berth. Cheers! Jan

Mirka Breen said...

Merry Christmas, Jan!

Barbara Etlin said...

My favourite part of this time of year is the Christmas lights. We like to drive by neighbourhoods that are well lit. Also, at least in normal times, people seem to be happier, bustling around for gift buying and party shopping, looking forward to seeing friends and family who usually are far away.

Evelyn said...

Thank you for your sweet post, dear friend. I'm glad you can find joy in the lights of Christmas and other trappings. I think one of the messages Christ came to share with us was that inclusiveness is better than exclusiveness. And you do a great job of exemplifying that. One of my mom's favorite poems to quote to us as we were growing up was by Edwin Markham--

“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!”

Janie Junebug said...

So nice to read another lovely post by you, and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!


Mirka Breen said...

Merry Christmas, Janie

Sue said...

Love you sharing your perspective!