Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Cookies

"Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in your gets so lonely for...I don't know what exactly but it is something that you don't mind so much not having at other times."

- Kate L. Bosher

The holidays are a difficult time for me. I HATE Christmas music, well most Christmas music, with a fiery passion. I like the song, "Walkin 'round in Women's Underwear." That one makes me laugh, and I like the Christmas Album Greg Kihn and his kids made last year. It was available as a free download from KFOX where he is currently the morning DJ. And I kinda like a few others, mostly kicky Beach Boys, but traditional tunes...nope. Santa Claus gives me the wiggins, and there is only so many times I can watch "It's A Wonderful Life," before I get the blues, even though it has a happy ending.

There are other things I enjoy about the holiday. The Christmas tree lights, the unique way folks decorate their houses, stories like the little girl, Virginia O' Hanlon, who wrote to the New York Sun to find out if what her playmates had told her was true. Was there a Santa Claus? An editor at the Sun, Francis Pharcellus Church, answered Virgina, in what is now one of the most republished editorials in the English language, "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus." It's message was timeless and it was truthful. How often do you see that combination?

There seems to be a lot of pressure to be perfectly happy during the holiday season. It's as if a minute after midnight on Thanksgiving, until a minute past midnight New Year's Eve has this invisible kind of pressure to always have a smile on your face and think of the world as joyful and peaceful. That's pretty hard to do on July 10th, just to pull a date out of the air, let alone any day in December. Then throw in some ill timed moves that sometimes happens in life, and all the gloomy nonsense, that's right I said nonsense, about whether or not a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree. Yes...It's a Christmas tree. Get over it.

LOL. Sorry but I find that kinda silly, why is the term Christmas tree so threatening? On the other hand why can't some folks understand that wishing someone a "Happy Holiday" or a "Season's Greeting" isn't just politically correct thing to's a polite thing to do. The truth is a lot of different people make up what America is. All kinds of religions, all kinds of philosophies, all kinds of ideas, and we don't know who we are talking to when we encounter a stranger, so is there something wrong with wishing them a thought or a kindness that could apply to everyone without offense? Does it really have to be "Merry Christmas," or nothing at all? It just seems to me that if you really do wish them the good tidings you claim to...then wishing them a "Happy Holiday" does indeed cover it for both involved.

It was a strange feeling finding out when I was in my mid thirties that I am Jewish in heritage. My mother did all kinds of lying and skirting of the truth about herself, and as a result I found out by accident. I am a Methodist in my heart, but I feel a certain longing to find out what she had denied me knowing about the Jewish culture and religion. I explored it a little bit last year, and I am glad I started looking further. I have been reading and educating myself a little bit here and there when I can. I will continue to, taking the trek slowly, so I can get the most from what I study. It's the only way I know how to deal with things happen, that I am not prepared for. Research it till I understand it.

The day after Thanksgiving, Alan bought me a Dreidle and some chocolate Gelt coins for playing the Dreidle game. He was very cute coming home with the small bag of goodies, and smiling because, however small a step it might be, it would be a good place to open up a dialog if I needed to talk about the upcoming holidays. Would I be celebrating both this year? Was I ok? Were the music and the decorations getting to me? Nah...I am ok. I am not hiding from having feelings anymore. Where once I was afraid to say out loud how frightening the holidays were because of painful memories, now I can say if I am getting overwhelmed. I have a mood, I move on.

I did something joyous this weekend. I put up my Christmas tree, which sits behind my desk, because I wanted to. :) I cried and mourned a bit some recent losses, I got mad a couple times because one would think in 2005 there wouldn't still exist people who go out of their way to hurt others, but there are. But something really, really nice also happened, something that put me in the holiday spirit...I sat at my desk and made Christmas cookies, while Elvis slept at my feet, and I felt the spirit, the thing I always saw in other people during this time of year,cover me like a warm blanket around my shoulders. And there was no fear. Yep, there is a Santa Claus in my house, and maybe I will ask him to play the Dreidle game with me. Hey, I made cookies! LOL. :)

"Christmas Cookies"
Berkeley, California
December 4th, 2005

To see my photo in a larger size click on the image and it will redirect you.


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Oh, Carly! I hardly know what to say. My beloved John,asn atheist, agrees with you about the term Christmas tree, and so do I. I personally seldom say Merry Christmas unless I know the other person celebrates the holiday - I usually go with Happy Holidays instead. But the party I went to last night was a Christmas party, attended by Christians and Jews, Sikhs and Hindus and whoever else works for the company. I like the way someone (a rabbi?) explained it last year on NPR. Celebrating Christmas without being a Christian is like going to a friend's birthday party. It's your friend's birthday, not yours, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate it with him.

It saddens me that Christmas is so tainted for you. I hope this year finds you genuinely peaceful and smiling, and healing as you learn more about Judaism.


Globetrotter said...


Well,this is getting stranger and stranger-how much we are alike that is.

When I read this entry I merely shook my head in amazement. First off, I really become extremely depressed around the holidays. I simply can't wait until they are over for many reasons. Bad memories is one of them, and the lack of a close knit family is especially painful.

But enough of that, I don't want to make you depressed since you are in good spirits about your cookies:)

But guess what? I found out later in adulthood that my dad's family changed their name when they came to America. Why? Because they were Jewish! They hid it from others as though being Jewish is an indication that you have leprosy!

I've never been able to find out very much, no one would talk about it on either side.

I was very glad to find this out, but sorry that my relatives are so close-minded.

The cookies look delicious!


Solitary Dancer said...

Yum! The cookies look wonderful and I'll bet your house smelled divine while they were cooking

sunflowerkat said...

In Jewish is considered a mitzvah. Keep it up!!

A holiday tree is s preposterous idea. Of course it's a Christmas tree. On the other hand, the greeting of Happy Holidays is most appropriate, especially with strangers. I wish I had a nickle for every time a well meaning cashier said to one of my kids when they were little, "What is Santa bringing you?" What is a kid who doesn't believe in Santa supposed to say? It's embarrassing for everyone.

This season has sent me down in the dumps for years. I'm thrilled when it's over.

Steven said...

I've gotten increasingly ambivalent about Christmas. I don't mind the music though, but I can't stand remixes of traditional songs into commercials. ewww.

I did not know there was a whole set to the cookies photos. Mmmmmmmm....