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.