Thursday, December 12, 2013
Are You Ready for Christmas and Other Holiday Observations
In between, of course, I have been finishing THE A WORD (May 2014, Soho Press) and now the revisions for FINDING PARIS (which got announced in late September, the day before we took a nose dive into medical mystery land and is coming in 2015 from Balzer&Bray) and doing book events and all the rest of the things that make up this crazy wonderful career I have fallen into.
In any case, it's suddenly December! I love December. I love October more, although this year it sucked because of all of the above. But December is nice. It has red holiday cups at Starbucks and decorated houses and lights and cookies and treats and mechanical reindeer on our neighbors' lawns and Christmas trees and menorahs (although this year Chanukah coincided with Thanksgiving and is thus over until next year when it will once again be back in late December because that's how things work with a sort of lunar calendar) and other festive stuff.
Our extended family covers just about every religion in the book, so we're a fairly ecumenical/equal opportunity holiday bunch. I don't personally celebrate Christmas but I love the pomp and circumstance of it and who doesn't love good will on earth and peace toward men? I love the music, too, the grand majesty of so many Christmas songs -- although not that one about "Baby it's cold outside" which if you listen to it is essentially a rapey/roofie in your drink so I can have my way with you while it snows song, which is not quite so jolly as one would think from the tune.
If you ask me, as my neighbor just did as I was walking the dog, "Are you ready for Christmas?" I will give you a resounding "Yes!" Because since it's not my holiday, the prep is fairly minimal. ( I find that this is easier all around than me launching into a discussion of "Different Religious Traditions" while my dog poops on your lawn.)
Of course there are the tricky moments in our varied sides of the family like over Thanksgiving when my in-laws' 7 year old asked if Santa brought Jewish kids presents and I mulled this over while eating pumpkin pie and eventually just said, "No. Could you pass the whipped cream" and then had a not unpleasant flashback to the time when I was eight and decorated our rubber tree plant with Christmas ornaments and insisted on sitting on Santa's lap at the mall only to feel like a total imposter once I got up there. But let me add here that if you are reading this and you are an adult who regularly bends down in the grocery store and asks random children what they want Santa to bring them, you might consider that some Jewish kid is going to tell you that Santa doesn't come to his house, and that he will spin a dreidel , eat latkes and enjoy those socks and underwear he gets on night 3. Or in the case of our son, he will then ask you what you plan on doing for Purim in March and did you fast at Yom Kippur, and you will walk away muttering.
Once, a few years back, the high school football team persisted in roaming the 'burb each night, placing the reindeer in highly compromising positions. Another year, our next door neighbors tried to throw away their Wise Men when they got new ones. Each garbage day, the garbage men would have replaced them neatly on the lawn.
I love the holidays.