Wishing you much love and laughter, from our family to yours.
Here are the steps to a holiday card self-hate spiral…
1. Sometime around September, have a brilliant holiday card idea. Congratulate yourself for your infinite cleverness and creativity. Promptly forget about it in favor of Halloween preparations. Don’t worry- you have plenty of time.
2. Wait too long to execute whatever elaborate machinations said card requires until you wind up doing things like schlepping your family to the mall dressed like the Addams family and then waiting on line for 3 hours to see the mall Santa.
3. Ask some super stoned copy shop employees to help with the layout.
4. Beg your graphic designer friend to re-do the layout.
5. Now it’s December 20. Check the calender again. Yup- sure is. Pay for a rush printing job.
6. Lay out all the card-sending paraphernalia.
7. Begin feeling warm and fuzzy as you write out each address- enjoying the memories, the feeling of connection, the sense of pride in your still-sort-of-clever card.
8. Start to get depressed as you cross off all the friends and family members who don’t like you anymore.
9. How many more pages of addresses left to go? Start to get relieved as you cross off all the friends and family members who don’t like you anymore.
10. The hours wear on. You’re neglecting your child. You’ve ordered pizza for dinner two nights in a row. You have other things to do- like your job for instance. You swear to never do holiday cards ever again.
11. Walk the final stack down to the mailbox. So neat. So satisfying. But still, you’re never doing this again.
12. Let the coming months erase the pain until September rolls around again. See step 1.
I one day anticipate having to explain that celebrating two holidays doesn’t equal getting double presents, but for now T just thinks having two holidays means having candles he’s not supposed to blow out and balls he’s not supposed to throw.
It took me a few years to get the hang of it, but I have to admit that there’s a real decadent joy for me in doing all the traditional Christmas stuff. Sometimes I feel like an imposter. Other times I feel guilty- like I’ve totally assimilated and lost all sense of my own culture. But most times I just feel like we’re carving out our own space in the world and figuring out by trial and error who we are as a family. We’re constantly in a process of discovering where we’re going to find a sense of community. It’s different for us than it was for my parents, who had a social and religious network that had been in place for generations.
I grew up Jewish and Scott grew up Christian and we both fluctuate in our commitment to any sort of religion. But when it comes to explaining spiritual principles to our son, I see how useful it would be to have the sort of framework that Judaism provided for me as a kid. I envy many of my friends the simplicity of having an organized set of beliefs. Because when it comes to explaining things like God and Jesus and the meaning of these holidays in a developmentally appropriate way, I’m pretty much stumped.
But for the time being, we haven’t found a religious community that fully makes sense to us, so we’re still out here floating around with our latkes and gluten-free Christmas cookies and grab bag of holiday stories.
And anyway, look at us. Simplicity would be so out of character.