It’s hard out here for a… well, not “pimp,” but “perp.” (Hoping you remember that Oscar winning song?)
See, I am a highly educated, largely secular, but raised Hindu in a Catholic/Protestant world-married to a Jew-mother of Jew-ish (not very observant but with a healthy respect and affinity for Hindus) children-woman. (Phew!)
Yet I love the Christmas season. I love saying “Merry Christmas!” I love the red and green and blue and silver, I love Santa, I love every single soulful, commercialized, warm, gaudy, peaceful, chaotic, true, and false thing about Christmas. I do.
I am a fake, a perp. I know that Christmas isn’t meant for me. I know that it’s meant for Christians. I do.
Our children were a bit bummed that Hanukkah fell at Thanksgiving this year. When Hanukkah is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it gets a bit more attention. They’ve noticed this fact, being so savvy at ages 6 and 8. They miss the attention Hanukkah gets when it’s closer to Christmas. They miss, subconsciously, its coattails.
Me and my Diwali candles, the gifts we got from my parents in early November? My mother-in-law’s extraordinarily thoughtful and perfect Hanukkah gifts? Both holidays honoring good over evil, light over dark, hope over despair? Those are big things too, but where we live? No Christmas coattails to ride this year.
My Hindu family, when I was kid–we didn’t wait for any coat. We put up a tree, we decorated our house with lights, we exchanged gifts, we sent out holiday cards. It was done. It was expected. We were very good assimilators. My father, the best assimilator out there… wouldn’t not fit in, ever.
And I believed in Santa. I really, sincerely, did, till about third grade (our daughter’s age–she and her younger brother do believe). I loved the idea of a magical person who cared about you, about what you wanted… a person who motivated you to be “good” or “nice.”
Who wouldn’t want that to be real? I still want that to be real.
I want so much for Christmas, and I want Santa to know.
I want to have a gathering. I want to host our friends and their kids and have a great evening, laughing and sharing and having fun. I want to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with somebody who appreciates it as much as I do (I can think of one person who might like it more than me: I think he’s seen it over 100 times, I went to grade school with him). I want to listen to the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” like I used to when I lived in Washington, DC, when my roommate and I hosted Christmas open houses, in between attending so many, many holiday parties. I want to bake cookies and eat them, with at least six other people.
I want to spend time with my extended family. I miss them terribly, and I haven’t seen them since June, and it feels like an eternity. I want my family to visit us.
I miss them terribly.
I want to cook with them, eat pop-overs, Hello Dollies, and samosas with home-made spicy mint chutney…
I want I want I want I want… What do I want?
Do elves wrap that?
I didn’t know until this very minute how very, very glad I am that we didn’t move to Europe in February 2012.
Sometimes Santa gives you what you didn’t even know you wanted.