Remember the Needy
No matter what I tell my therapist, there have been some effects of experiencing the Christmas season in a Jewish household, particularly in the decidedly Christian shire of Virginia.
My next door neighbors, the Antebellums.
In the absence of candy canes, Santa Claus myths and mounds of carefully wrapped presents under a fragrant evergreen tree, my heart gnarled around the only holiday the Torah threw at me: Hannukah. For those who haven't had the distinct pleasure of being gipped out of the clusterfuck of giving and receiving that is Christmas, Hannukah is not an important Jewish holiday. It ranks somewhere between Shavuot ("The holiday of corned beef and psychoanalysis") and Yom Ha-atzma-ut ("The holiday of ridiculing your child's clarinet skills") on our stupefying lunar calendar of religious festivals.
Don't get me started on Yom Sameach, with its ritual nerd costume.
Technically, there is no religious or cultural reason for giving presents on Hannukah, other than preventing bitter little present-less Jewish kids from growing up into bitter grownup converted Christian adults with holiday credit card debt and happy Jesus-loving children. My parents knew this, and also knew that they had future golf-themed Bar Mitzvahs to pay for.
So my brother and I were privy to increasingly sophisticated methods of justification for not getting real Hannukah presents. For instance, one Hannukah my parents planned a ski trip for after New Year's, and then wrapped all the gear they would have had to buy me anyway in 8 little gift packages placed next to the menorah. Day one: ski goggles. Day two: gloves. Day three: a key to their hotel room. I call bullshit! Presents are supposed to be unnecessary. I also distinctly remember my twentieth Hannukah, when my parents casually announced that my present that year would be "another year of college." That one really hurt, as I was stymied by the fact that 1) education truly is a gift to be cherished for all one's life, and 2) their fucking present cost $40,000. But I have a sneaking suspicion that they were already planning on completing the mission of putting me through the private university wringer; less clear is if they planned on having me graduate, drink $10 New York martinis for two years and move back home to apply for more expensive schooling.
90% of my daily caloric intake is olives.
My point is, everyone knows a Semite who feels the way I do. Maybe your Jew-friend shelters your assets from taxes, or keeps you from having to pay alimony. Maybe he or she sows that perfect cuff on your slacks or got you a 4-picture deal with Universal. Wherever you may find them, this Christmas take a moment to give them a real gift, not one made of hugs or with crayons, but a big fat fucking expensive electronic piece of shit from Brookstone that will break before President's day. After all, isn't that the Christian thing to do?
Somebody buy me this.