Dear Santa: Why do you hate the Jewish kids?
It is for this reason that some Jewish children living in the secular world get really grumpy around Christmastime. Sure, they get 8 days of gifts (if they're lucky), but these gifts often consist of merely socks, books, and/or small toys. (What the Gentiles might call "stocking stuffers.") And yes, while they still get to watch Frosty the Snowman and the Rudolph cartoons, and might even be fortunate enough to get invited over to a friend's house to help decorate their tree, it's never quite the same. Most of them have never experienced the anticipation of opening their gifts on Christmas morning and checking to see if Santa ate the cookies they left out for him. For Jewish kids, Christmas usually simply means there's nothing on TV besides a parade and everything is closed except for movies and Chinese restaurants. (Which is why we are known to hang out in these establishments on Christmas Day.)
But, I was a precocious child, and figured I could outsmart even the most savvy of jolly fat guys in red suits. That's right--I would trick good ol' St. Nick and make him believe that we were a house full of Irish Catholics (or one of those other religions).
And so, at approximately 6 years of age, I instigated a revolution in my household. I announced that I would be celebrating Christmas and whomever wanted to join me could too. Well, it appeared I was on my own, as Mom and Dad were not thrilled with this idea. This was evidenced by their refusal to buy me a tree. "Who needs a real tree?," I thought. I was a creative child. I'd figure it out. And I did. I made my own one dimensional tree out of green construction paper. I taped it to the living room wall and stuck makeshift decorations all over it--cotton balls, Cheerios, shredded aluminum foil, my mother's jewelry.
|Cheaper back then|
Yes, the thought did cross my mind that it was probably more "naughty" than "nice" to attempt to punk Santa, but I would deal with the ramifications AFTER opening all the wonderful presents he would bring me.
As Christmas approached, my parents expressed some worry that I would be devastated to wake up on Christmas morning to essentially NOTHING (except for a plate of uneaten cookies). So, they had no choice but to break the news to me right then and there. It is something that all children must hear at some point in their lives, and it can be equally devastating for Christians and Jews. Yes, one never quite forgets the first time he/she hears the words:
WHAT?! I, like most young children, got mad at my parents for fashioning such a hideous lie. I would shout "Of course there is! I saw him with a kid on his lap at May Company this morning!" My parents soon realized it was no use. I was expecting Santa come hell or high water."THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!"
|NOT the actual necklace|
Moses?? Are they kidding me! Wow! So this Santa guy really didn't exist after all. Clearly, if he existed he would have shown up. Parents must be the ones who leave the gifts! This realization changed everything.Dear Roni:Santa doesn't come to Jewish houses. It's not because he doesn't like you. Don't take it personally. He's just really busy with the Christians. Enjoy your Jewish star necklace. Happy Hanukkah!Love, Moses
As for Christmas, I learned to live without it (while surrounded by it). And we bend over backwards to make Hanukkah as much fun as is humanly possible for our kids. It must be working, because I've never once seen my kids hang a red sock on the mantel or glue a cardboard tree to the wall.