Listen. Let’s just address the elephant in the room.
Christmas is awesome.
Forget about the religious meaning behind it. I’m talking about just from the fanfare that goes along with it. It kicks Hanukkah’s ass every year. And I might be a little jealous.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Hanukkah. My mom made a huge deal every year. She deviated from the 8 present bullshit and went all out. My brother and I would count the presents and give her a hard time if we did not have the same exact amount.
So cut to present day.
I do the same thing for my daughter. Except now I have to compete with the Elf on the Shelf. He’s so effing cocky. Pooping peppermints and getting into compromising situations with Barbie and Skipper (she’s jailbate dude…even Santa can’t get you out of that mess).
That little asshole is everywhere, posing for pictures and engaging in shenanigans, adding to the magic of Christmas. And I almost bought one, because an elf is hardly Jesus, right? There’s nothing offensive about a nice Jewish girl enlisting the help of an elf to make Hanukkah more magical.
Then, I saw him. With his black hat, distinguished salt and pepper beard and talit. If he could talk he’d have a thick yiddish drawl dripping with phlegm. Yep! The jews finally had a conduit of Hanukkah magic – The Mensch on the Bench.
So obviously I bought him and began the brainwashing of how he was watching my child, every move, every word out of her mouth, to decide her Hanukkah fate. She was intrigued. Stared at him. Asked where he came from. Israel, I said. Asked how he could see her when she wasn’t home. Magic, I said. Asked who he was going to report back to. Me, I said. To which she corrected me and said, “No mommy, he tells Santa.”
I’m not religious, I don’t go to temple regularly (I rarely go actually), but I take a lot of pride in my heritage and what it means to ME. And I do think Hanukkah is magical. But it’s hard to compete with the influx of mall santas (who by the way, all look like they have at least one charge of lewd and lascivious behavior under their big black belt), giant gorgeous, sparkling trees and SBux Peppermint Mochas. I thought the Mensch was my in, my gateway drug. But Santa is just too strong. He’s like the Kanye to my Lil’ Romeo (don’t know who he is, right? Exactly!)
My daughter asked me if she could believe in Santa. And I said absolutely. (I’m Jewish, not a monster for godssake!).
So even though she was thrilled every night of Hanukkah, genuinely grateful for her presents and our time together, she still had Santa envy.
It also doesn’t help that half of my family is not jewish and does celebrate Christmas and so my kid thinks she’s getting shafted.
She’s also left the confines of a Jewish preschool where all they do is sing about matzoh balls and is in a non-denominational school. But let’s not fake the funk. “Non-denominational” = mostly Christmas with maybe one Jewish-themed song that one child (mine) knows the words too. Then, she came home from school with a packet of “Reindeer Food” (oats with red and green sprinkles that no doubt blew up on Pinterest) and begged to sprinkle it outside for Santa’s Reindeer (this was on the first night of Hanukkah). So we did (she has no idea when Christmas is) and she went to bed.
The next morning, she popped out of bed like a jack in the box on crack. (Note to self: Maybe I should employ this tactic more regularly since it’s like herding cats to get her out of the door in the morning).
“Mom, mom mommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Did they come???? Did you check?”
We ran to the front door, she opened it and squealed. Literally. Next to the remains of the Reindeer food was a present (that I originally bought as part of the Hanukkah booty, but removed from the wrapping so she wouldn’t be on to me, and put it in another bag.)
If success was measured in little girls being saucer-eyed, then I’m winning.
And then my mother provided the clincher to the Holidays. As an aside, My mom will NOT be left out. She too lobbied for a small christmas tree of her own when she was little because all of her friends had them. She also drove around in a brand new Corvette at 16, with a surf board sticking out the back. Which would be normal if she surfed. Just so we’re clear, she never surfed a day in her life. Not once. But she liked “the look” and therefore employed it as a prop.
Anyway, I digress. We were coming to spend the night at my mom’s on Friday and she told my daughter that Santa came to the house for her. And on top of the perfectly wrapped Elsa’s Ice Palace and a couple of other goodies, was this card:
She also pointed out that the presents were wrapped in Christmas paper, not Hanukkah paper because Santa doesn’t even have it. Well-played, mom.
The Mensch has gone back to Israel and she is anxiously awaiting his return.
In the mean time, so what if a little Jewish girl believes in Santa. Magic is Magic, right?