Chloe and Brody woke up at the un-Godly hour of 5:AM.
Five. In the morning.
So I did what all good Mamas do. I sent them downstairs to play. I can still hear them yelling, fighting, grabbing, musical-instrumenting. But it’s not quite as loud as if we were, you know, in the same room together.
Kayli is still sprawled out in bed, covers kicked off, arms straight up above her head, no chance of her getting up before 8:00. That’s my girl.
Regardless of my ahem early risers, I’m blissfully, contentedly HAPPY to have everyone at home for the week. I know. Believe me, I know. The fighting! The mess! The D R A M A ! But I can’t help it. I love being able to say YES to them. Yes to jammys all day, yes to sledding and yes to messy projects. But only one per day. Because that’s my limit. Don’t judge.
Right smack at the heart of break and at the top of my LOVE-ABOUT-BREAK list? Is Christmas! That’s right, Christmas!
Before we get into tussle about this one, there’s no need to go there. No need at all. Remember? I’m still in my jammys and my kids have been up since 5:AM. I won’t be able to put up much of a fight. You’ll win hands down. But…
But, we can all agree that Christmas is blissfully, wonderfully different than any other day of the year. Stores are closed. We have the day off. Our non-Jewish friends are immersed in family and fun and nostalgia. And we can dedicate the day to much of the same.
On my part: I’m so in. And I’m so celebrating.
There’s no tree, no Santa and no Jesus. But there is Christmas at our house. And we all look forward to it every year. So here it is:
Our Top Five (Jewish!) Christmas Traditions!
1. We go sledding first thing in the morning. AKA: We wear them out, baby.
2. To ease the transition from, “Wheeeeeee! We’re sledding!” to “Wheeeeeee! We’re going home now.” I’m following the advice of a fabulous ECFE teacher and bringing something syrup-y and delicious to pour in the snow post-sledding and letting them eat up right there. Off of the ground. Believe it. Two notes about this one: First, the teacher suggested Mountain Dew. But I’m thinking that’s a bit um, too yellow? And second, I’m so not telling Jason about this part until we get there. Why? Because eating snow creeeeeps him out. And I’m pretty sure that eating flavored snow will not ease the creeeeepiness factor for him.
3. Fireplace, popcorn and hot chocolate with candy canes when we get home. Every year. Like clockwork.
5. And, last but not least, we go to the movies. Come to think of it, it’s really more like Chinese food is the bread and going to the movies is the butter. The first year that Jason and I did the Christmas movie thing there were so many people at the theatre. I kept excitedly whispering, “Could they possibly ALL be Jewish?!” In my mind’s eye there was much happy bonding time with new Jewish friends RIGHT THERE. At the popcorn line. His response? No, Christians can come to the movies today, too. Right. But lots-o-Jews or not, the theater’s open and (at least in theory) everyone else is at home opening presents or at church praying, right? No lines!
And I’m not above admitting that right after that, is the best part of the day:
Blissfully, blessedly. B E D T I M E.
And as for Jason and I? We’ll probably watch a rerun of the Glee Christmas Special with hot buttered rums. Why? Because we can! Remember? It’s bedtime! So there you have it. That’s how this Jew celebrates Christmas with gasp my children! Merry Christmas to you. And seriously, Merry Christmas to me! May your day be cozy and warm, your noodles be long and covered (Soaking, even!) in soy sauce and your husband not cringe as you encourage your kids to eat snow. With syrup!
Definitely with you on the movie! That’s one of our biggies. I actually started going because it was my (non-Jewish) father-in-law’s tradition. Only later did I realize it was a “Jew thing.” 🙂
We may try the sledding… on Sunday, if we can fit in time between all the sales!
(Did you forget the “reading through flyers to figure out what you’re going to buy the day after Xmas” tradition? That’s a biggie for my husband… it’s called Boxing Day here, and he’s been getting ready all week!)
If I were to give an award to a Mama it would be to YOU! I love it that you will put some delicious on the snow so your kids can eat it – what fun! And, your day itself sounds FUN! In fact, I’ve always celebrated Christmas and you do more on Christmas day then I think I’ve ever done 🙂 I’m also one of those non-Jews that has made it a tradition to see one of the new movies out on Christmas day – except last year when the lines were so long we just gave up. Anyway, Galit your day with the family sounds warm, fun and beautiful. Happy Holiday Galit – I hope you get an exciting fortune in one of those fortune cookies tomorrow 😉 HUGS!
So awesome! It almost sounds like our Christmas, minus the Chinese food. (Although in a life before kids we would head to the Chinese Buffet on Christmas Eve after church. We LOVED doing that! Alas, no more. Maybe once the kids are older…)
Traditionally we go to a movie, also.
My family and I spend quality time together eating, talking, eating, sipping, talking, eating and sipping and talking.
Enjoy your weekend.
Five words I never thought I’d say, but you have inspired me: Have a merry (Jewish) Christmas!
Love it. WE also do movies and Chinese food. Bummer that this year it’s on Shabbat 🙁
It’s funny….as kids, we celebrated Hanukkah and a touch of Christmas. We never had Chinese food. We never went to the movies. We stayed home and….what? Frankly, I don’t remember…but it wasn’t very so-called typical. I guess all that Chinese food came with the 1950’s, or something….But it was never a tradition in our Household. And then, after we left the Temple…(In the mid to late 1940’s), and started celebrating the “traditions” of Christmas—A Tree and Gift Giving—Still, no Chinese food….lol! And I’ve never had Chinese food on Christmas Day..ever! hen starting about 36 years ago I began celebrating Christmas rach year with my friend Betty and her Family. Turkey is the main course—and I used tp make the stuffing. (It was my mother’s stuffing..Simple and scrumptious beyond belief!)
I am fascinated by the whole Chinese Food For Jews-On-Christmas deal….I wonder how that tradition started? Do you know, my dear?
Anyway….Have a WONDERFUL Day of fun and family and frivolity!
Can you actually find a Family Film these days? “GULLIVER”?? Ot is that too scary?
Ok, Galit. THANK YOU!! As usual you’ve said it warmer and nicer than I ever could, but THIS is really what I’ve been attempting to communicate everywhere for the past two weeks. Whether we celebrate Christmas in the official way or not, the country really does stop during these few days and we, as Jews, get to stop right along with everyone else.
People joke that there are more Jews at the movies on Christmas than in shul on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah. For better or worse (it is what it is), this time of year is ironically when some Jews feel their identities the most. I say bring it on! Bring on the Chinese food and the movies! Bring on the sense of family tradition (halachic or not) AND . . . wait for it . . . bring on the Merry-ness. It IS a “merry” time of year, even with Hanukkah far behind us. And I love it! My kids did the snow and hot chocolate thing today too. And now we’re getting ready for Shabbat dinner. (I’ll add the candy canes to the hot chocolate next year. That simply genius.)
I think you have a better Christmas planned than I do! I hope you have a great day!
Well we are jews with tree. I have never had to deal with it but today, sick hubby, mine to orchestrate. We have devils & taxis & Ruby Slippers. It’s kind of an ode to whatever has struck us over the years.
I feel like a Jew & a Christmas – doer all at once & it took me a while — wasn’t my vision for my adult life –but at this point, it’s just fine. It’s like yours, its own set of traditions that become… what you do/how you celebrate/how you hang with your family on days when nothing else is going on.
Us 6 plus 8 for brunch. Eldest going with Grandma to the movies (& I bet Chinese food).
Love, as ever, your open heart/arms to enjoying life.
growing up my jewish friends did enjoy passing over to our house for christmas. i enjoyed their company and their perspective was just the same as yours. one thing that impressed me though was how much their parents enjoyed the 2 days off. it was almost comedic as a kid because my parents got time off but never enjoyed it. the jewish friends had a peaceful household. irony at its finest
Sounds like a perfect day you have planned there!! I think next year we are just going to celebrate all December long!!
Peace, love and family. To me, you capture perfectly what the Christmas spirit embodies. And I think you’ve got something going with the Chinese food… we may have to try that next year!
Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family, friend!
Sounds like a great day. My kids asked me what Jewish people do for Christmas, and I advised that I know a lot that eat Chinese. My ex goes to Universal Studios (he has passes) on the morning of Christmas since he does not get the kids until late afternoon. He says that the park is filled with Jewish people. As for the movies, we Christian folks are sick of our family by the time dinner is over, so we often to out to movie so Aunt Ethel will quit prying into our lives….lol. Have a great Christmas.
Merry Christmas from a shiksa! My Jewish boyfriend and I couldn’t find a good Chinese restaurant that was open, so we went to Buca!
Your recap sounds absolutely perfect…Sledding, hot chocolate by the fireplace, and the movies. What could be better?
I actually took Maya to a movie for the first time (yes I realize she’s already 5!) and we both loved Tangled. Have your kids seen it yet?
Happy Holidays Galit!!
nice, thoughtful post. evocative.
Sounds sooo fun. Ben and I are trying to come up with our own Christmas traditions. We actually celebrate it even though we don’t consider ourselves Christian. Maybe we should call it Santamas. Anyway, we travel from his family to my family to my other family, open a toy store full of presents, and eat lot and lots of food. It’s nice to catch up with family but we don’t know how to fit in our own family time. I’ve been wondering what your beautiful family does. maybe next year we will just come over to your house! LOL. Don’t worry. We wouldn’t dare:) It sounds perfectly special. An inspiring. Thank you for filling us in!
I absolutely adore this xD what a wonderful bunch of treats wrapped up in one totally fabulous day.
I did laugh at the eating snow, Samuel did it today whilst out walking the dog. He just picked up a chunk of snow, moulded it into a ball, stuck it on a branch and started eating it. I’m pretty shockless these days and whatever makes him happy 🙂 I think next time I’ll take your advice and take some syrupy thing with me 😀
This looks like a great schedule. But why do so many Jews eat Chinese food?
You’re kill’n me here! First Chanukah, now Christmas. If my kids were to read your blog they’d beg you to adopt them. Sledding, snow slushies, a movie, popcorn, hot chocolate and Chinese food all in one day? Now that’s living baby!
We did bake and consume copious amounts of short bread. That’s gotta count for something, right?
Hope the rest of your holidays are this great.
This is so funny. I actually said to my dad as we sat in the movie theater that we were celebrating a Jewish Christmas (he is Jewish, my mom is Christian). But the Chinese and movies always seem to go hand-in-hand 🙂
It sounds like you had a wonderful day with the kids, and that is what the spirit of the holiday is all about. Wishing you all the best for the new year! *HUGS*
Sounds like a fantastic Christmas day to me!!
I love the traditions you have created with your children. They will remember that day for years to come. Funny…we are in SF right now and just ate in China Town with the kids. Yum 🙂
Hmm, do I hear an excuse for me to celebrate all Jewish festivals with Chinese food and movies*? I think I do. Sounds like a great day to me 🙂
* I’m not committing to the sledging and snow-eating because, well, we don’t get that many snowy days!
I love the movies on Christmas night! New Years Eve is pretty awesome too, if you’re not into partying. I’ll miss Christmas at the theater while my daughter is still a baby, but as soon as she’s big enough we’ll pick it back up.
It sounds like you had an awesome December 25th.
Merry Christmas! I had heard about Chinese food, but everything else was new to me. Sounds like wonderful traditions! My girls woke at 3:30am Christmas day, so I can relate with you there.
We had sushi, for a change. Yum! My husband made it to the movies Saturday night but I stayed home to read in bed. Because I am exciting like that.
Dropped by to say thank you for your words of encouragement on the opening of my book at No. 7. It truly meant a lot!
As a non-Jew from NY, I always envied the Christmas Day Chinese food-movie tradition. The brood of Irish-Catholics I come from can be a bit exhausting after a few hours.