Neil Gaiman on Hanukkah and Christmas
Thanks to Laura Gayle for the link!
Neil Gaiman writes about his family's Hanukkah/Christmas struggle and the kids' ultimate triumph.
At our house, we never would even think of having a tree. But I was surrounded by non-Jewish friends, so I got my yearnings out of my system by decorating my German friend Monica's tree and spending xmas day with them. Their traditions included drinking Henkel Trocken punch [the addition of frozen strawberries made it punch], listening to the ultimate irony -- Barbara Streisand singing xmas songs -- and general post-holiday sloth. Oh, and Monica's brother's rum balls...Martin could make a mean rum ball!
In my later high school years, I subbed in for a christian friend at her job, one day a year -- xmas, of course. It was at the nicest nursing home in London, Ontario, and all I had to do as receptionist was answer phones and deliver Poinsettia plants to the residents as they trickled in all day. So strange to have the non-residents say, "bless you for giving up your xmas!" to me, over and over, year after year. Everyone said that.
I spent the day doing the job, calling Monica's family to celebrate long-distance, and working my way through the previous year's worth of New Yorker Magazine cartoons, issue by issue. [Heaven.] At the end of my shift, I opened the special desk drawer, removed my pay envelope and went home to my tinsel-free family.
I never wanted not to be Jewish. Like Neil, I just wanted the bling in my house, too.
--> Bling achieved.