"Why the hell do we have to be so politically correct all the time?"
"Why does everything have to be Happy Holidays?"
"I'm an American and I say 'Merry Christmas' dammit!"
These were phrases that have been voiced by Past Tense Emily.
The Emily who grew up in the Whitest of White areas in America,
and who never met a Jew until I met my husband.
Because, after all, if the vast majority of people celebrate Christmas,
why do we have to accommodate the 0.01% who don't?
Obviously meeting and marrying Adam changed a lot,
as I learned just how hard it is to find Hanukkah wrapping paper.
But having kids has changed my mind even more.
(Hell, having kids has changed my mind on literally every subject known to mankind)
I've talked about before how we don't "do Santa."
And in prior years it was no big deal at all.
Aaron would do the Santa crafts,
and see Santa at my work Christmas party,
and come home to presents "from mommy and daddy"
and light the menorah
and it was all good.
But now Aaron is 3.5,
and he's starting to ask questions.
A LOT OF QUESTIONS.
99% of them coming from preschool,
which is a private school and thus can do a pretty heavy Santa emphasis.
Recently Aaron came home asking:
"How does Santa come to our house? We don't have a chimney."
Now, this puts me as a parent in a pretty tricky spot.
On one hand, I'm absolutely comfortable explaining that Santa is a pretend character,
just like Elmo and Daniel Tiger.
Just like we explain vampires, witches, and mummies on Halloween,
so Santa is a character in the holiday,
but he's not real.
BUT if I explain that to Aaron,
guess what he's going to do?
He's going to march back to preschool and declare:
"SANTA ISN'T REAL"
which is going to be CHAOS.
And quickly earn us the MOST HATED FAMILY in all of preschool.
So I'm in a tough spot.
I don't want to compromise what Adam and I agree (not "do" Santa).
But I also don't want my kid dashing all the other hopes and dreams
of all the other children in school.
On a much more difficult level,
our niece and nephew attend the same preschool,
and they are - what I like to call - "full Jew,"
as in 100% Hanukkah, 0% Christmas.
So it puts my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in an even worse position,
since they don't do anything with Christmas
(no trees, no stockings, etc)
so how do they explain Santa to their kid,
without also being the most hated family at preschool?
I don't have answers for any of the above.
But I do have a newfound appreciation for the neutral holiday celebration.
Because if the teachers aren't pushing Santa,
then we don't have to worry about our kid dashing the other kids' dreams.
If we just stick to nice neutral snowmen and winter holidays,
there's less likelihood that my Santa-Is-Pretend-Child will make the Santa-Loving-Children cry.
Oh, and when Aaron asked how Santa got in our house, I replied:
"What do you think?"
And he thought for a moment then said:
"I think he climbs through the TV."
Has anyone seen the movie The Ring (2002)?
Because now I have visions of a dead Santa clawing his way out of a TV,
coming to kill us.
So there's that.