So I was walking JP home from his mother’s last night, and as is his usual pattern, he was trying to hit me up for a toy at each gumball machine we passed. He gets his way with this about once a week, which is a pretty high ratio, I think. Last night was a no night, which led to a discussion about why he never gets gifts (he does), when said gifts will arrive (I made the mistake of saying he had to wait for Hanukkah, when gifts would rain from the sky), which opened the door to a further discussion about how come we don’t have a Christmas tree like he does at his mother’s, which required me to explain that we do Hanukkah at my house, with its fun candles and stuff, which ended up in … a blank stare.
Don’t get me wrong—JP likes lighting things on fire as much as the next kid, and he knows that eight days of gifts is better than one. But he really has no idea what Hanukkah is, which makes sense, as I really have no idea what it is, other than the time of year where we have to make lame rationalizations about the pleasures of lighting things on fire and the surplus benefits of eight days of gifts while the entire country goes apeshit over a pagan demigod breaking into their fucking homes and stealing their cookies.
Problem solved! Fuck the goyim and their silly holidays of commercial excess. I’m going to stick with my potato pancakes and world-weary ethnic bitterness. It’s better that way. I will know where the finer Chinese restaurants are, and the Christians will have to make due with candy canes.
The real issue, though, is that JP will be learning about Xmas over at his mother’s house, and let’s be honest—Hanukkah can’t really compete. Christmas is too much, it’s too popular, too successful—it’s the Grinch that stole my Jewish Christmas. I can try to ignore it, but what good will it do? There’s lights everywhere! Before Halloween is even over!
Do I want, then, to actively undermine Christmas in JP’s mind? Do I tell him that Santa is not only not real but a little bit of a perv? And a drunk? And that the reindeer get nothing in the whole deal? Or do I do what divorced parents always have to do—accept that things don’t work perfectly, do the best I can, and make sure we have a good time anyway.
What do you think?