July 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Family

On the first day of “Tot Shabbat†class when the teacher asked 4 year-old Mason what his favorite holiday was, I knew we’d be in trouble. “Christmas!†he shouted. I’m sure my embarrassed expression came as a relief to the teacher because she turned and whispered, “It’s OK. I like Christmas, too!â€

Before I met my husband Ben I just assumed everyone celebrated Christmas. Both my Jewish parents grew up with it so my sister and I did, too. We never went so far as to get a tree or put up lights but on Christmas morning we’d all pile into bed and open presents before eating a big family brunch later that day. I was never confused about what religion I was. For me, all holidays were about family and food (or no food until lunch after temple if it happened to be Yom Kippur).

Even though he thought my family was strange for doing so, on Christmases after we got married, Ben obliged me by exchanging gifts and eating our traditional breakfast (bagels and lox, of course!). He asked, though, that once our future kids were born we’d stress Chanukah because he didn’t want them to be confused. I’ve tried. Really, I have.

We’ll light candles and eat latkes and I love it. But the allure of Christmas keeps pulling me back. Maybe it’s because December 25 seems to be the one day that forces everyone I want to be with – my parents and their spouses, my in-laws, my cousins, my grandparents, my sister and my brother-in-law – to all come over, eat delicious home-cooked cuisine and have fun. It’s a family fantasy come true that only seems to happen once a year.  

Maybe I’m selfish or potentially confusing our kids by celebrating a holiday from another religion. Or, maybe I’m showing them how exciting and special it is to have a great, big, chaotic, happy family.  All I know is if I’m lucky enough to eventually be welcomed into my sons’ future homes to eat, drink and be merry… there’s nothing wrong or confusing about that.

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