As I mentioned in a recent post about Thanksgiving (which covered the December holidays as well) I come from a Jewish family and still consider myself Jewish, though we are not at all a religious family. Nancy was brought up Catholic, but left the Church long ago. We are decidedly agnostic, but also consider ourselves multi-denominational.
And so yesterday, with a recent snowfall melting away and more bad weather bearing down on us, my younger daughter and I went to the valley to buy our Christmas tree, and then I put up the holiday lights on the house.
When I was growing up, my family always celebrated Christmas, even as we also observed Passover (and Easter) in the spring. These were compromises made by a lot of non-religious Jewish families in the mid-twentieth century. Living in a world still recovering from World War II and plagued by continued anti-Semitism, many of these families, ours included, chose to assimilate rather than broadcast their Jewishness. It was often a safer choice, and certainly a more comfortable one.
As a kid, I didn’t care about the reasons, I just knew that I loved Christmas. Yes, the presents were part of the allure — greed was absolutely a factor. But I also loved the lights, the tree, the decorations. I was a sucker for all that stuff, and, truth be told, I still am.
Our house is now decked out in holiday lights, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s actually a little ridiculous how happy these lights make me.
I wish all of you a wonderful weekend and a joyous start to the holiday season, no matter what holidays you happen to celebrate. Stay safe, and be kind to one another.