Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Secrets of Christmas: Revealed

Me: i need something to write about today. There's no one in the office, so no one to make fun of
BaconJew: write about your christmas experience back home
Me: hmmmmmm.. what about it?
BaconJew: all jews want to know about what happens
Me: really?
BaconJew: of course
Me: ha, okay
BaconJew: talk about the gift exchange thing
Me: what do you mean?
Me: just in general?

BaconJew: jews don't do that
Me: i thought you got a gift each day?
BaconJew: call it "the secrets of christmas: revealed"
Me: you're hilarious
Me: so did you get gifts or no?
BaconJew: adults usually don't get gifts for hannukah
Me: sucks for you. my christmas isn't a normal christmas. we're very spoiled.

I considered doing a "live blogging on Christmas" post for exactly this reason, but thought better of it because:

A) What kind of loser blogs on Christmas day?
B) I didn't want to explain to the family why I was documenting their every move. Plus, they complain every year that I'm always on the computer.

This year I slept on my parents' couch because my siblings called dibs on the two extra rooms. I woke up at 8 a.m. to my mom stuffing stockings. Our stockings each sit on a chair and the gifts overflow onto it. The chair and stocking contain more presents than most people receive the entire day. I've said it a million times, my parents go all out for Christmas. I am very happy about this situation. I will never get too old for presents. Perhaps I sound like I'm bragging? This is because I am. I grew up with nothing and when my parents ran into money, they started "expressing" themselves through Christmas (and other tacky mediums) (We're Italian by all means - tacky is in basically in our genes). I don't think I'm necessarily entitled to it, but I'm certainly not complaining.

My dad is never around for the stocking part. He is in the kitchen making chicken, sage and apple sausages and yes, potato pancakes, which I referred to as latkes this year out of new habit. All of the men in my family cook (everyone does, actually), including my newly circumcised grandfather who has a new favorite recipe for microwaved pork terryaki. It's surprisingly decent. My dad has a wiener dog who is forced to wear antlers on Christmas. His name is Hewie and I'm pretty sure my dad likes him more than any of us. He talks to him like he's a human and has to constantly remind him that, "Hewie, you're only a dog, not a person." I don't think Hewie is the one that's confused. When my dad wants to have a serious conversation with Hewie, he refers to him as "Hubert."

Moving over to the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree basically contains every present each of us has asked for on our template Christmas wish lists that mom sends out about a month or two before Christmas. She has a shopping addiction and we all benefit from it. She doesn't care who she's shopping for as long as she's going through the motions. Every year, my parents say the same thing before we open presents, "Next year isn't going to be like this. We're going to stop getting so many presents. This is ridiculous." And we respond, "I understand," then elbow jab each other in the sides because we know it's not true.

From here we sit around and everyone takes turns opening presents. My dad usually gets my mom jewelry and vacations. Every year she threatens my dad that she is going to get fired for taking off so much time. Like any Italian woman (err, any woman), mom is obsessed with jewelery. She has a dresser dedicated to it in her room. My sisters get a bunch of jewelry for Christmas every year as well. Most of the time they don't like half of it, but not to worry, mom has what she calls the "Jewelry Exchange Program." The jewelry exchange program is a basket of a bunch of jewelry she has taken out of her drawers. The sisters dig through it and trade her for the jewelry they prefer. My dad usually buys himself a painting that my mom has nixed sometime during the year. When she starts fuming, claiming that, "No, I hate that thing," my dad says he can't help it; Santa brought it. I imagine that from an outsider's point of view, this is very obnoxious.

Finally, we eat the sausage, eggs, potato pancakes with gravy left over from Christmas Eve dinner. My dad says the longest prayer in the world, asking God to bless the family, the neighbors, the troops overseas, bad decision-makers who affect the world we live in and other various people he hates and loves. He is wearing a burgundy Santa hat with a leopard print trim. I think [hope] it's my moms. Later in the evening we go to my aunt and uncle's house where our whole extended family meets to open even more presents and have dinner. Dad wants to know if the Santa hat matches his outfit. "Dad, there would be a serious problem if that matched your outfit." "True," he says. "I think I'll wear it anyway."

And this is Christmas at the Not Chosen household.

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