|Dressed up to go to shul on Rosh Hashanah|
Then we get to Christmas time. Christmas time is one of my fondest childhood memories and I just cannot give it up. Growing up I hated my birthday, the story of Easter troubled me greatly and father's day was fraught what with my totally absent father. However, my memories of Christmas are happy: making steamed pudding with my Grandma; watching Carols By Candlelight on Christmas Eve, my Mum setting up a trampoline in the vacant lot next door; Santa leaving bicycles under the tree; opening presents with my cousins; feasting on Turkey with all of the trimmings, ham and pork with crackling (the now forbidden traif), followed by our homemade pudding and a particularly sherry soaked trifle; my Bestefar's mischievous laugh when one of the adults fell foul to his Norwegian Akevitt. Christmas when I was growing up was not about the events that took place in a manger in Bethlehem; it was about family, being together and having fun (with a tree and Santa thrown in for good measure!).
As much as I fully adopt Judaism, I can't help but feel that to give up Christmas would be to turn my back on my happy memories and the one major tradition in my family. At Christmas time, since my relationship with DaddyB-B commenced, I have endured Santa being labeled "disgusting" (and not in the sitting children on the lap of a strange old man sense) and the insistence that "the 'C' word" (no, not the four letter one, "Christmas") not be uttered in front of certain people. It seems that for some Christmas brings out a distinct lack of tolerance and understanding. So at this time of year things get a bit, well, interesting to say the least. There always seems to be a level of simmering tension in the air while the big, fat, tinsel covered elephant in the room is ignored. This was easy enough to deal with before the arrival of BabyB-B.
|In her "haute couture" Chanukah dress|
|All dressed up for her first Christmas party |
at the Royal Hospital for Women
In my mind the easiest and most logical way to explain it to her is also the most honest way. When BabyB-B is old enough to understand she will be told that Mummy was not born Jewish and that she grew up celebrating Christmas with a tree, Santa, presents and, most importantly, a festive meal (minus the traif) with family and friends. And even though Mummy is now Jewish, her family is not and they still celebrate Christmas.
So BabyB-B, we will celebrate the holidays our way, in the hope that you will grow up understanding and having compassion towards the different cultures and traditions that exist side by side in the country of ours. You will get candles and carols.