The kids wanted to get antlers for the car this year. And a red nose, of course. My car isn’t anything to brag about in the looks department, it’s super old and a little battered (my fault, I ran into a snowbank last year and damaged the undercarriage of the front of it, and backed into a fire hydrant earlier this fall and cracked a tail light. In my defense, I’m in the car a LOT. I don’t hit things a lot more often than I do). So I was totally in favor of sprucing it up, so to speak. Give it a little style, a little holiday flair.
Except… we’re Jewish.
We’re Jewish and celebrating Christmas, and as much as I try to pretend that it’s totally smooth sailing and easy-peasy to straddle this cultural divide, it’s still kind of a hot mess. Because the thought of decorating our car with such a public symbol of Christmas made Marc uncomfortable, especially in light of our new schedule that involved me parked outside the synagogue five days a week (if we survive the next three months leading up to her bat mitzvah – I’m going to go into synagogue withdrawal when it’s over – between studying with the cantor, meeting with the rabbi and regular religious school, I spend more time there than in my living room).
So we didn’t get the antlers. I started to go the route of over-analyzing what this meant – where we saying that we needed to HIDE that we celebrated Christmas? Would the kids be getting the message that they need to be ashamed of traditions that come from my side of the family tree? But then I stopped. Because it’s a deliberate thing – this whole peaceful acceptance and focus on celebration and family and togetherness, and as easy as it would be to sink into the angst – it’s not helpful for anyone. If I want December to mean more to my kids that the advent of my annual angst-ridden drama fest, I have to make it happen.
I got them an Elf on the Shelf instead. I explained that it wasn’t really respectful to have the car decorated for a non-Jewish holiday and they were okay with it. Especially because I followed it up with “… and I’m getting you guys an Elf on the Shelf tonight because you’re so awesome.” The older two, especially, really, really wanted one. And as much as I hate the thought of adding on another task (because you know I’ll forget to move it), they were so delighted about our new Elf (named Chocolate Chip Cookie) that they promptly forgot about the antlers and focused on that.
And the added bonus is that Marc was so appreciative that I didn’t push for the antlers that he moved the Elf for me last night when I forgot.