A very American phenomenon is the day you move into college (university) as a freshman with your various assorted toiletries holders, full-length mirrors and photo collages of your 200 best friends from high school… and there they are: the Jews for Jesus. The most helpful people on the planet for one day only. They will lift your heavy suitcases, re-arrange loft beds and convert you if you want.
I realize they are on to something. Christmas.
Like so many secular Jews world-wide, I flirt each year with Christmas. It started so innocently when I was young. My grandparents on my dad’s side were avowedly Protestant and my family was allowed to celebrate Christmas at their house full throttle- and no one could pass judgment. “It’s my grandparents!” I would say, while trying to stay inside the lines with my crayons while coloring majestic pictures of Jesus at Sunday School where my grandma taught.
As we kids got older and LaLa and Popop could no longer put on a celebration, we moved xmas squarely to our home. “It’s to honor my grandparents!” I would say as I hung the ornaments of angels, carefully avoiding touching the nativity scene my dad always managed to keep around. By this point anyway my dad was the least Jewish converted Jew in the land- and besides, what child does not want to celebrate ALL the holidays?? Seriously. My parents went all out. We got 8 presents for Hanukkah, a million for Christmas, latkes, sugar cookies, beef brisket and ham. Score!
But at least I could always pin this on my parents. And since I have lived away from them as a (struggling) adult, I have been careful to avoid a Christmasy home. Oh, I mean- I flirt. I hang white lights (“for Peace on Earth!”) and add table motifs (“to celebrate wintertime!”) and surely I have been known to mail hundreds of cards to people (“for the New Year”!).
But here I am, all the way in London, and I am worried that we cannot resist much longer. It started with red candles I loved. I should have gone with blue, but damn if I didn’t choose red. Then the other night I passed a florist on the street and wouldn’t you know he was selling lovely small branches of spruce and pine trees at the best deal I have ever seen in this country- 50p. So I snapped up two.
Bryan walked in the other night with a pleased smile from ear to ear. I saw he had brought me flowers and I was so excited at his gesture of romance. I inched closer, and it was A SCREAMINGLY BRIGHT RED POINSETTIA.
Um, honey, that is so sweet of you, but that’s a Christmas plant thingy.
I think it’s nice and will look good in here.
But…um…yeah, soooo nice of you, but it’s very Christmas.
No it’s not, it’s just a plant and it’s pretty.
Uh, okay. Thanks. That was so thoughtful of you.
This is why I never bring you anything.
I really just want to hold out on the tree. How long can I last?