By Lesley Rousso
So I’m sure some of you have seen my Christmas pics on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For those of you who don’t know me well, you’re probably wondering why the girl who was posting pics from her sons Bar Mitzvah six months ago is now posting pictures of a Christmas tree. Well, my husband is a Jewish New Yorker, as are his parents, who now live in Miami. My Mom and her family are Jews. Obviously I am, as are my children and my sister and her family. So why Christmas? Well, we celebrate it for someone who wasn’t Jewish and doesn’t attend anymore. That person, is my father. My dad passed away almost eleven years ago. He went into the hospital December 10, 2002 and didn’t leave there until a few days into 2003.
The next year, like I said, my dad entered the hospital and my mom was not up to having Christmas in her home. She was insistent, however, that we have it still and we all agreed. My dad was not conscious at that point, and he was the type who would’ve told us to get off our asses, cut the crap and just do it. Until that time, I had planned not to have a tree, we were raising our children Jewish. I figured we would just do Christmas at my parents’ house. By this time, we were all so spent from spending every second at the hospital, that we really needed this. I decided to host the holiday. My mom went out and bought a little fake tree, because by the time we decided to do it there were no trees left.
So began, our new tradition. The following year Darren, the kids and I went out and bought a tree. My mom passed over all the ornaments to me and we bought some of our own too. We had the whole family over and continued on, as my father would have wanted. Everything is basically the same, we still get deli, and it’s still a bunch of Jews sitting around celebrating. The adults all draw names now though and everyone gets something for the kids. The kids get for everyone, which is hysterical, as the presents prove to be very interesting. My father in law got a GIANT alarm clock from Ethan this year. I’m still cracking up about it.
So yes, things are different, but still very much the same. I have passed on the job of head elf to my kids. I now serve as “Santa”. I gave Max my original hat, and I glittered his name on the other side. I took my dad’s hat, put my name on it, the other side still reading Michael. It’s bittersweet for me every year but I adore sharing this same silliness with my kids. For us, Christmas doesn’t mean anything religious, but I respect those for whom it does. For us it’s about family getting together and having fun. Oh and lots of laughing, always tons of laughing in this house.
Do you have a holiday tradition you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below!