When I was growing up in Stamford, CT back in the 60′s I really disliked Christmas. Most of my friends were Catholic or Protestant. Christmas was THEIR big day for presents and family and MY big day for feeling sad and left out. Making it worse, everything was closed–even movies, as I remember– so there was really nothing to do. I would pine away for the next day so we could go “back to normal.”
Seems like those days are way in the past. Christmas has become the day for Jews in the ‘burbs to enjoy. We have Chinese food, movies, and invitations to Christmas celebrations. Last night, for Christmas Eve our immediate and extended family gathered at a Chinese restaurant in New Canaan and then walked 2 storefronts over to see True Grit. I truly believe that the Jewish directors (Joel and Ethan Coen) and one of the Jewish executive producers (Steven Speilberg) made sure this terrific movie was available to all of us for Christmas. Thanks guys!! My son Sam, did a scientific survey and has concluded that 1) everyone in the restaurant went to same movie as us and 2) that they were all Jewish. You can read his blog post about it. Frankly, I’m not sure I agree with him especially given the demographic makeup of New Canaan.
Today, Christmas day, I am having a great, relaxing day of eating and cooking. Later, we’ll be sharing Christmas dinner with our friends George and Elaine, with whom we share a close cross cultural friendship. They are part of our extended family and have come to appreciate our favorite Jewish traditions while we love their Russian orthodox/Italian/Polish/Catholic ones. My mother is bringing Elaine’s favorite: brisket. Christmas brisket–how perfectly 2010.
Being Jewish here in the ‘burbs of NYC is actually aok.