Friday, December 09, 2005

Struggling with St. Nick

Naomi Chana is right, of course, to say that Christmas celebrations aren't really a serious Jewish problem. And yet, our Little Anachronism is now old enough to notice and understand all this stuff -- and Chanukah is "late" this year, dammit -- we're going to be fighting a rear guard action for the next few weeks. School isn't helping: it's a Waldorf pre-school, and they're big into fairy tales and angels and seasonally meaningful saint's days. Yeah, we knew that going in, but they assured us that it wasn't a Christian thing, but that didn't stop the teachers from putting gold-painted "magical" walnuts in the kids' shoes during nap time and telling them that St. Nicholas did it. So all the way home we're explaining that it's a story and it's the teachers that did it and I really think it's time to have that serious talk about "We're Jewish; they're Christian; it's fun but we don't do that (except to have fun with friends who do)"

We grew up sharing Christmas (stockings) with Christian friends (also Easter baskets, though often they had to wait for the end of Pesach); the same ones who came over for Seder and latkes and dreidle. The Little Anachronism is going through a "strange men are bad" phase anyway, so Santa isn't immediately attractive (especially the big one climbing up the side of the mall, for some reason), but lights and presents and candy canes are a challenge.

Yes, I know this kind of puts me in Naomi Chana's camp of Jews whose priority is to not look Christian; when family and friends and small children are involved, though, it gets more complicated. Even she's got decorated greenery. We don't do that, but there is the Hannukah Advent calendar....

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