Please turn up sometime around 4pm. At 5pm we will hand out presents (for children only please) from under the tree. The tree symbolises mother nature and her abundance, the presents symbolises the triumph of advertising and the petrochemical industry. To honour the fact that Jesus didn't restrict his diet to kosher food we will be offering a curry dinner. This will be served at precisely 6 pm. Latecomers may chose to sit on the front porch till the meal is over. This is to recognize the 40 day fast in the wilderness when Jesus was tempted by the devil. After eating we will drink wine and talk. This is to acknowledge the legend that Jesus liked drinking wine and talking with his friends. - Invitation to Christmas Dinner,Tim Juliff
|New York Guy Celebrating Hanukkah|
Around three in the afternoon I bumped into them for perhaps the fourth time, waiting at traffic lights on the corner of 88th and Second.
I smiled at them and asked, "What are you celebrating?"
"Hanukkah," they shrieked. "Happy holidays," I replied.
Unlike many people, I have no problem with saying Happy Holidays". It's almost natural to me now. In fact the other day when I was asked, "Are you a 'holiday person'" I answered with a decided "No" - thinking of course that the person meant did I like the December holy days. In fact she meant did I object to "Happy Holidays" over "Happy Christmas".
Growing up atheist in a single parent family in Australia in the fifties, Christmas was a time to dread. Christmas Day especially. The three of us, Mum, Tim and myself would sit forlornly around the table eating roast chicken - each of us trying to put a bright face on it in order not to upset the other two. One Christmas Day, when we were a bit older, my mother, having a sense of humour most would be generous in considering "dry", served up one hamburger with plastic holly on top.
|Dance of Death from Bergman's "Seventh Seal"|
So I love it here in New York when the December greeting is "Happy Holidays". I DO however draw the line at "holiday trees". What's wrong with "Christmas trees"? That's what they are, aren't they? Why else would people put dead trees in their living rooms and decorate them with glitter and stuff. And no one suggests we call Menorahs "Holiday Candles".
|Menorah at Café D'Alcase|
I can ignore the store musak and the pretty lights. On Christmas Day we are eating Indian. And the 1950s are 100 years ago! Praise the lord!
So turned off was I by the 1950's idea of Christmas that I brought my children up without any explanation of what it was supposed to signify. And I realized I had succeeded as a parent when my daughter, aged around six, asked me,
"Mum, was it Christmas or Easter when they crossed him up?"