To preface this, yes, I am Jewish but my father’s side of the family is Christian, so I guess I’m a little bit of both. Because my dad’s side of the family lives further away we usually are unable to spend Christmas with them.
So three years ago I decided that I wanted to have the stereotypical Jewish Christmas: seeing a movie that had just opened, getting Chinese food and playing board games.
It took a little convincing, and by that I mean which movie to see. But eventually my mom, dad, brother and I were all on our way to see “Sherlock Holmes.”
Afterwards we called my Aunt Liz and grandmother, whom we affectionately call Ram, and invited them to our little get together. We spent about an hour discussing what to order because we had to figure out who would be sharing what and whether or not we wanted leftovers but finally we called the best Chinese restaurant around: New China Town.
The next few hours were exactly what I needed on Christmas day, a day when I was usually deprived of family and other human interaction. With my dad’s side of the family all together in Pennsylvania or South Carolina, Christmas was always the time that it was usually just all of our family members in our own little corners, reading, playing video games or watching TV.
As the next Christmas began creeping nearer and nearer our new tradition was getting a little bit of tweaking. Because our Jewish Christmas was so new we allowed for shifts to be made. I mean, traditions aren’t made in a day, right? If only I had known this tweaking would forever shape the Jewish Christmas tradition as we knew it.
Ram had decided that this year we would have dinner be a little more high end. No more dumpy New China Town (my father and my all time favorite) for us! We were going to order Bo-Lings. Unfortunately, Christmas day turns out to be the worst day for Bo-Lings. I don’t know if the chefs didn’t try, if they spat in our food because we made them work on Christmas eve or if it was just an especially dry batch of chicken but basically no one had a good meal.
But that is exactly what is so great about my family and Jewish Christmas. After just half an hour we were all poking fun at Ram for insisting on Bo-Lings and demanding that she swear we get New China Town the next year.
To us, Jewish Christmas is just one big, fun joke of a holiday and that is why it is one of the best. We gorge ourselves on lo mein and dumplings, watch silly movies and play Catch Phrase until our voices go. What could be more meaningful than that?