No one loves Christmas more than a Jewish kid, or so goes the myth. When contrasted with Hanukkah, Christmas feels like a brightly lit, beautifully decorated holiday, replete with its own songs, festive decorations, trees, wrapped gifts, Santa visits and dinner. There’s an elf on the shelf. (We’ve got the mensch on a bench, by the way, but it’s just not the same.) I want tinsel and red-and-green decorations – not blue-and-white ones. As Kyle Broflovski once sang on “South Park,” “It’s hard to be a Jew on Christmas.” I blame my love of Christmas on two things: my Soviet upbringing and my high school boyfriend’s mom. Perhaps, because it so closely resembles New Year’s celebrations in the former U.S.S.R., where I spent the first 10 years of my life, Christmas has a special meaning in my heart. Adapted for the secular masses, New Year’s in Russia was basically Christmas stripped of religious trappings. We had it all: the New Year’s tree, the Soviet version of the Santa Claus (a.k.a. Grandpa Frost), the songs, the festivities. The seed was planted. To my high school boyfriend’s mom, Christmas was about celebrating with her family and friends and bringing people together. There… Read full this story
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