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Appreciation Time, AgainPosted Friday, December 23, 2011, at 12:06 AM
As an MOT, AKA a Member of the Tribe, the Hebrew persuasion, a Jew, I'm probably not supposed to admit this, but I like Christmas. I like the lights and the decorations, the chill in the air, the candy canes and the general holiday spirit. But I have never celebrated it and don't intend to. There are no trees with tinsel and lights in my house, no presents under a tree and no goose in the oven. In fact, if I opened the door and found a tree in my living room, I'd either think I'd been punk'd or that I was in the wrong house. Then I'd haul it outside.
Though I never felt short shifted because we had other things growing up. At Hanukkah time, we'd usually go to my great-grandparents' apartment where we'd get plastic dreidels with Hebrew letters symbolizing the holiday on the outside and gold covered chocolate coins on the inside, and I'd spin the dreidl after emptying it of the chocolates. And we'd light the menorah and eat potato pancakes. I never felt cheated or short shifted even though I knew that other kids had presents under a tree and wreaths on their door, though my mother did let us hang store-bought stockings filled with toys on a bathroom cabinet.
But that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate what is someone else's, and I have no problem wishing others a Merry Christmas because there is something so generic and whitewashed, so politically correct about wishing someone a Happy Holiday. It's like only being allowed white bread when there is wheat and challah and rye. If I get wished a Merry Christmas back, I simply say that I celebrate Hanukkah, and then I get wished that. After all, isn't that what it is about, appreciating what is yours and respecting what is another's?
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