Mom I love you (wherever you are), but you got it wrong. You don't have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas. Okay yes, there is the Jesus stuff, but you know, besides that, it's a time to celebrate peace, love and joy.
Jews throughout history have devised clever ways to horn in on the Christmas holiday. They have, like Life in the Boomer Lane, married Christians. They have created their own traditions which usually involve going to the movies and/or eating Chinese food.
Every year as a kid in the 1960s my family celebrated Christmas as a festive holiday. The funny part of this to some of my friends is that my family was Jewish. Why not enjoy all the holidays during December?
This year, "eight days" has personal resonance. During the ordeal of hurricane Sandy six weeks ago, we lost power for eight days. It was inky black beyond the fire's glow. I finally understood, on a visceral level, why for millennia, people stared down darkness with celebrations of light.
I overheard a florist comment that he'd sold more Christmas trees this year to Jewish families than non-Jewish families, and it got me thinking that the state of play for Team-Jewish is at a critical point of the game.
It's hard growing up in a world where something is shining on a mountain, and you think everyone in the world except you is allowed up. Was it such a sin to dip a Jewish toe into this Christian ocean of good will?
It was a point of pride for my parents and teachers that we clung faithfully to traditions such as Hanukkah in the face of so much Christmas -- and a source of pride in America that we could do so, for the most part, unmolested.