Slogging

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Hello everyone! I hope your holidays were swell. Me, I am still slogging through the festivities. That’s right, we still have four birthdays to celebrate this week. There will be a combined celebration, but it is still shopping & planning to be done. Plus I somehow agreed to host this year. Ugh.

Frankly, I can’t stand this time of year. Especially Christmas.

My husband’s family places an unhealthy degree of emphasis on wishlists. The emails start around Thanksgiving. The harassment, I should say. I hate it. I myself can rarely think of anything I want. My clothes are functional; they have all the books I need at the library; my electronic gadgets all work fine. I am just not a material girl. What I really want is for people to do things for me. If someone could take my son down to the DMV and get his learner’s permit set up, that’d be great. We also need our passports renewed — I would be thrilled if someone else would make that happen. And hey, our kitchen knives need sharpening. They’ve never been professionally sharpened ever, not because of the cost but because of the boredom of the errand. If someone would do that for me, I’d be truly grateful. Much more truly grateful than I am for the gifts off my wishlist. The wishlist that I racked my brains to come up with, just so that others could feel good about spending money on me. Sorry but that is fucked up.

The wishlist thing isn’t good for the kids either. If you aren’t very careful they come away with the idea that toys = love, that the Christmas spirit is about asking for and receiving the biggest box of Legos, that not getting the coveted iPad is a reason to despair, that iPads are something to covet, that coveting is even a thing.

But you want to know the worst thing of all, about Christmas? No one in this family is even Christian! I was raised by atheist Jews; I call myself Jewish but I don’t even observe the High Holidays. My husband did grow up going to church but his mother later made a completely break from the church (not sure why). As a result our kids are a bunch of heathens and we are under no pressure to change that from either side of the family. Which puts a further layer of pointlessness on our celebration. I would much prefer this holiday if we celebrated it religiously. I would have no problem going to midnight mass or whatever. If we went through all this wishlist rigmarole because even one of us felt moved to celebrate the birth of Jesus, well that would be fine with me.

Because, here is a thing about me. I am fascinated by other people’s religion. Not just fascinated, but deeply moved. I have no interest in participating in organized religion myself, but I love it that other human beings do. And you know what? People talk to me about religion. I have had so many conversations with random people, e.g. moms on the playground, standing in line at the bank, etc etc, where within minutes the other person is telling me about their church. Sometimes (if I’m lucky) they will get into really nitty gritty doctrinal stuff. And then after a while they mention that they can’t believe they are telling me all this, they don’t usually talk about their religion with strangers. And meanwhile I am eating it up and hoping for more. I would be a very willing participant in a religious Christmas even though it is not my religion. This is true of Halloween too. I despise Halloween. But if it were still celebrated as a religious holiday, omg I would love it.