At Best Day we try not to use themes or pressure our older buds to write about specific topics. As a result, we unfortunately do not have a Hanukkah story to post for the first night of Hanukkah. However, we have older bud Eleanor's story about her experiences with Christmas as a Jewish girl in a mostly White Christian neighborhood. It's important to spread and share the traditions of older buds of all backgrounds, but it's also important to learn and share their experiences with the dominant culture, whatever that may be. Once you understand that, you can understand the best ways to share and promote the culture of the unknown and oppressed. You also understand how traditions can change and be changed by immigrants and celebrants all over the globe. For instance, did you know that many of our most famous Christmas songs were created by Jewish songwriters?
Without further ado, here's older bud Eleanor's Christmas Story:
A Jew at Christmas
Growing up in Toronto in the 1950’s there were almost no other Jewish families in our neighborhood. Many of the people on our street were Irish and Scottish immigrants. The Bells, the Charltons, the Youngs. It was no secret that we were Jewish, didn’t go to church, and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Our house was the only one devoid of beautiful Christmas lights, and magical Christmas trees. Our next door neighbors, the Bells often invited me to events at their church. I learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam.” At Christmas I went over to their house, where under their brightly decorated tree there awaited a gift for me.
I was always a bit sad at Christmas time. I made a “Christmas tree” out of chairs and construction paper. I sang Christmas carols with the school choir. My favorite to this day is “Hark the Herald Angels sing.” As a young writer, I wrote stories and plays about Christmas.
I must say that the modern world is more inclusive. My own children never felt the envy that I did. School concerts included token music of Hanukah and Kwanzaa. In some ways it’s easier to be different. But in other ways it’s worse. But that’s a story for another day.