Friday, December 22, 2006

Why the Jewish People don't decorate more

I've been trying to wrench myself out of a day-and-a-half-long humbug. Or should that be capitalized? Humbug. Post-wretched-stomach-ailment, you'd think I'd be simply happy to exist. But noooooooooooo.

Today I took a few of my son's "extra" Hanukkah toys to drop off at Toys for Tots because last night I got almost physically sick again seeing all the wrapping paper strewn about and him ignoring yet MORE toys. I mean, this kid has TOYS. He doesn't need more toys. Good toys, perhaps. He is a quick little guy and very curious. But not in terms of sheer number. We don't need another dump truck. Or another yellow dump truck, for that matter. We have three of those.

OK, so you see where I'm headed. To be perfectly honest, the kid is 1 1/2. Either send some money to his college fund or make a donation to UNICEF or Heifer International in his name. But apparently that would spoil the fun. Hmmmph. Fun. Humbug.

Not that I am into denying my child things or fun, for God's sakes. I'm all about fun! I love things! I am not one of THOSE people! I put up little twinkly lights! I love those pasty sugar-laced red and green christmas cookies!

It's just, somehow, like Aunt Bettye used to say, "Genuf"-- yiddish for enough already! Quit the crap!

I can't tell you how good it felt to drive my car up to the door of the mall, put on my blinkers, and liberate my car from those toys! And to know that they were going to kids who will be thrilled to pieces-- no shit!-- with those toys my son would not pay attention to.

I'm actually wondering if I can make this a sort of tradition for the holiday season. As Jews, we get the benefit of often celebrating and opening presents before the rest of everyone, so perhaps we should take that extra 'leg-up' and use it to re-gift.

I'm not saying necessarily the terrible toys only, I'm just saying, maybe as my son gets older, we make a purposeful decision to have him participate in giving on to other kids at the holiday season and at his birthday. Perhaps things he thinks other kids will like. Sort of like tzedakah or tithing. But somehow, for a kid, I think this is also more real than if you did it with money (at least while he's this small).


...And speaking of the "holiday" season, there was a funny article in the NYT about a Jewish woman in L.A. in a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood who has been raising eyebrows because she does a huge holiday light display on her house. (Go read it-- the pictures are nice of the display). My favorite is when they ask one (also Jewish) neighbor about whether it bothers her and she says:

“I think it is just wonderful. I don’t know why the Jewish people don’t decorate more.”

Love it!


Next, perhaps we will turn our eyes to "New Year's Eve: The Night I Would Rather Stay Home Watching 'Blazing Saddles' and Falling Asleep By Ten". Ho Ho HO!

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