~Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Reindeer Games

I didn't know I was dating a Grinch.

Okay, that is neither an entirely fair nor accurate statement. He's not a Grinch. He's a Jew, and Christmas is not his holiday. Within the next year or so, it will no longer be my holiday but a tradition I celebrate with my parents.

But Abraham, he hates Christmas. He cannot walk past a trimmed tree or holiday decoration without making a snarky comment. He groans at every carol. And don't show him the Lexus commercials with the big red bows. It's enough to make him shout in anger.

I don't know his reasoning for hating the holiday. My guess is that it's so commercialized and in your face and excluding of him.

I love the holiday. Christmas will be the hardest thing that I will have to give up when I convert. I love making cookies and drinking hot apple cider. I love acknowledging the season by decorating the house. My Christmas dishes are the only thing I inherited from my paternal grandmother. (I'm not getting rid of her dishes.)

I thought about it. I can still make the cookies and drink the wassail. I can still acknowledge the season. Hang a blue wreath on my door. But the one thing I cannot part with is my Christmas tree.

My Christmas tree is my living history. It has the ornaments I collected throughout the years. The one of my alma mater. The dangling picture of the Femme Fatale frightened next to a very unconvincing Santa. The fabric gingerbread man from my childhood. I just can't give it up. I feel like to give up my tree would be denying who I was and where I came from.

Abraham and I are supposed to be creating a life together, not me melding into his life. So when I very carefully explained the importance of the Christmas tree, he sighed and agreed we could have one. I ordered a beautiful, handmade, stained-glass Star of David for the tree topper. I dug out of the closet his single ornament of South Park's Kyle holding a Menorah and hung it front and center. This tree wouldn't be mine; it would be ours.

This morning, before I went to work, I admired our tree. And then I looked closer. Abraham had purchased his own ornaments and hung them up without telling me. They were shiny plastic stars and bells of his alma mater.

"They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games," I whispered softly.


heisschic said...

atta girl.

my fiance's family would put up a christmas tree when he was young... his parents didn't want their sons to feel left out. acknowledging the commercial aspect of the holiday didn't seem to hurt their faith in any way. ((kind of like how we're all irish on st patrick's day, ya know?))

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. I feel like I could have written this post. I'm dealing with the SAME EXACT THING. My bf is very jewish and doesn't want his kids being raised jewish with christmas traditions - he thinks it's confusing. PLENTY OF PEOPLE DO IT. All I want is my tree. I don't need/want to celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas - just the decorating and family stuff. That's so sweet he's partaking in the ornaments. I think I've made some headway but I'm not changing such a huge part of me for him. I'll compromise on a lot but not my Christmas tree!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I missed a post or eight. You're converting? Why? Do you have to? Are you okay with it?

Sarah said...

OBX - I'm going to email you. This wasn't one conversation one time, it was about 4 conversations over a 2-week period.

CP - No, I didn't have to. There was no ultimatum. Matter of fact, I was the one to bring it up.

TC said...

One of my college roommates had a Jewish Dad/Christian Mom.

They celebrated both.

She got a LOT of gifts.

Anonymous said...

You don't necessarily have to give up Christmas if you convert! There are a lot of Jewish families who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. There are also a lot of non-Christian Chinese and Japanese families who do this. You can decorate a tree, a tradition dating back to the Druids, and top it with a Jewish star and other fun, non-Christian ornaments. You can still enjoy baking cookies, hanging stockings, the Nutcracker ballet, gift exchanges,etc. All of the Holiday Spirit, with none of the Christ worship! Highly recommended by this Reform Jew!

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

Yeah, some things are okay to give up, others, not so much. I'm a fan of tradition, and of course making new traditions with a potential guy.

Plus, the tree smells damn good.

Readyandfading said...

I admire your ability to communicate. I was on the reverse of this situation in my past relationship. My ex-boyfriend said he would convert and really didn't want to and I had to let him go, we just couldn't see eye to eye on it. My current man is Jewish and for me, this has been easier and the religion thing can be tough if you can't meet in the middle and compromise. It seems like you can both bend and that is AMAZING! I am so happy for you. I agree, a tree is just a tree and my current boyfriend is Jewish and much more religious and spiritual than me and grew up with one, too. Xmas is fun and totally Americanized around these parts anyway.

Breeza said...

I think it's nice you're making your own traditions and starting your family the way you both want. And I'm glad A came around to the tree :)

Anonymous said...

I had this conversation early on with Baba. I am not Christian and neither is he. But I have grown up with a Christmas tree in our household. I think the Christmas tree is a tradition rather than a belief. (Please correct me if I am wrong somebody as maybe I don't know enough about the symbolism of the tree if there is one.) There's nothing wrong with a little bit of holiday cheer, a few lights and trees and decorations aren't going to change yours or his beliefs. They'll just make your home exactly that - a home.

The Mad Inscriber said...

musingsfromtheashes: the tree's origins are not christian, which is why many evangelicals eschew them.

Christmas envy - I grew up with it. Now I have a tree, dammit. :-D (Makes sense in a Jewish-Muslim household, no?)

Natasha Solae said...

The fact that you called him a Grinch made me chuckle. I guess it's one thing to not celebrate a Holiday but another to hate it. You guys seem like you have a very interesting and dynamic relationship. <3

xo, N


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