135Journals: On Not Decorating for Christmas

21 Dec


Do we look like “the Jews?” my husband asks as he looks at our completely und

Art Project #7, Art project number 59, Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Merry Christmas Madness, Art Project #7, Art project number 59, Alexandra Hanson-Harding

ecorated house standing in stark contrast to everyone else’s merrily twinkling fairylands up and down the street.I look at him, and he’s got this look on his face that is kind of joking and kind of not joking.

As he is the one who actually grew up Jewish, I am surprised that this concerns him in any way.

“I think it looks as if one Jew and one extremely lazy Protestant live here,” I say.

Actually, our halfie kid lives here, too.But he, the Lord of the Basement, is also as lazy as heck. He is not one for stringing Christmas lights.

I look down the street at the giant blown up igloos and skeletal deer lighting up the night. I say, “I think it’s good for people to know there are different kinds of people in the world. We can enjoy their beautiful decorations, and they can enjoy our” (gesture to admittedly sadly dark house)  “. . . relaxing  lack of electricity wastage.”

When the kinder were little, we were much better about the Christmakah decorating thing. Or, I will say, my beautiful husband was. He put up Christmas lights and Chanukah decorations, put out cookies for Santa, made sure that Santa’s footsteps in the ashes didnt get swept away before the children saw them. I went to specialty shops in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Passaic and shopped for singing dreidels and Chanukah gelt and the latest in Chanukah novelties to make the eight days special.I would dragoon the children into making ornaments with popsicle sticks and glitter, my husband would dragoon them into baking, and we’d try to make everything look magical.

But, I don’t know. Now I have too much pain to do much physical stuff. And he’s very busy writing a book right now. And the kids are adults and don’t really care right now. It just isn’t a season where it’s important to us. We do have the tree, and the latkes, and the Chanukiah, and the gelt, and the ornaments–but it’s going to be pretty low-key this year.

I love seeing what my neighbors are doing. I love their festive displays. But I love them because these nice people put up their lights and their creches because they are sharing  an expression of their happiness. But I don’t mind being different. I think it’s fine for people to remember that there can be all kinds of reasons, religious and non-religious, why their loving neighbors might celebrate, or not, holidays in very different ways in different years.






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