I did not celebrate Christmas as a kid. We were one of the few Jewish families in my rural area so while we were able to partake in the “go to the movies” tradition we didn’t have good Chinese food nearby so I only had it when we went to my Grandparents in Scarsdale, NY. (It was a place called the Seven Seas and we always had the server, Tracy, who put paper umbrellas in my drink. She was awesome!)
I have always LOVED the pomp and circumstance, sparkly lights, and coziness of the season. I remember, as a kid, living my dream when I got to help decorate my friends tree. I flung tinsel like Mardi Gras beads much to the chagrin of my friends parents, probably fueled by the anticipation of having to clean that stuff up.
As an adult I desperately wanted a tree at home but couldn’t justify getting one. This all changed when I was driving down the street and witnessed a car accident. Once I realized that everyone was fine my next thought was, “Life is short. We are getting a tree.” Totally normal.
From what I understand Russians have New Years trees. Not only is most of my genetic make up Russian but my married last name is too. That car accident plus this New Years tree revelation was enough reason to pull out the fake tree our friends gave us and start living out my dreams. Here’s what I didn’t realize…trees are a pain in the you know what. They are absolutely breathtaking until you have to take those suckers down. Now I enjoy other peoples trees.
For the past ten or so years we have been lucky enough to be included in another families Christmas. They are Italian and have the feast of the seven(teen million) fishes. The first year we were invited I could not have been more excited. I was going to experience a real Christmas Eve, tree and all! We tracked Santa on the NORAD Tracker, ate more incredible food than I knew existed in one place, and learned the immense deliciousness of pignoli cookies.
Since that first year we have expanded by four more kids, sadly lost some incredible humans and celebrated many birthdays. What started out as what I thought was a one off lucky break turned in to a yearly tradition with people who are now like family.
Christmas Day, on the other hand, we do the Jewish tradition of Chinese food and a movie. In my opinion we have the best of both worlds!