12.24.2005

I Like Christmas the Best

Of all of the holidays that I don't celebrate, I like Christmas the best. I really have a dislike of Halloween and Easter does absolutely nothing for me. I don't even really pay attention to Easter, and am always surprised to see so many people dressed up that Sunday.

But I kind of like all of the lights and kitsch of Christmas. First of all, I adore the smell of fresh pine trees that line the streets of New York. It reminds me of the holiday of Sukkot, back in the day, when people used evergreen boughs for schach instead of that roll-out bamboo stuff, and the smell would fill the yard. (At least in my neck of the woods--I imagine people in other parts of the world use whatever is native there. But that piney stuff sure smells nice, even if it does sometimes make those little green wormy things float on silken threads, dangling right over your hot soup. Anyone know what those are? Yech...) I like the cheerful, peppy music, and almost nothing beats the Gingerbread Latte and Peppermint Hot Chocolate drinks that Starbucks concocts every December. And, finally, I like it that everyone brightens up for just a little while in what sometimes feels like the dead of winter but is really just the beginning of a very long slog through the cold, short, heartless days of winter.

One more thing about Christmas--as much as I enjoy it from afar, I am very glad that I don't celebrate it. I am so glad that I don't feel all this pressure to buy stuff. I know that the buybuybuy mentality it not what Christmas really is, or should be, about for Christians, but it does overwhelm the holiday and the country at this time of year. And I am quite happy saving my money this time of year, and finding things on sale at other times of year (or right after Christmas). I don't have to brave the crowds or buy gifts for anyone. I tend not to be a big gift-giver (or gift receiver), including on Chanukah and birthdays, but I think most people feel that they have to give gifts to all of their friends and relatives on Christmas, and I don't. Which is quite nice. Plus, I never had to believe or not believe in Santa Claus. I always knew it was all a big lie. (Now the Tooth Fairy, that's another thing entirely!)

Please note that all of this is not to disparage Chanukah, which has nothing in common with Christmas except the time of year in which it occurs. Chanukah is one of my favorite holidays that I do celebrate! It's a nice one, and fairly low-key (in a good way), although it really hasn't been the same since I lost a dear friend on the first night of Chanukah. Tomorrow night, the first night of Chanukah, is her fifth yahrtzheit. I still miss her. Maybe that will be another post if I feel up to it.

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