Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Holiday Time Can Suck...Yes I am a Grinch: UPDATED to include Thanksgivukkah

This is a repost from October 2010 with one addition. This year we have added a new holiday to the mix- Thanksgivukkah...nope not kidding. Hanukkah and American Thanksgiving coincide this year. It will not happen again for another 79,043 years. Cool hah ...

So on top of everything else I do, I am trying to bring together these two holidays. Maybe some sweetpotato latkes RECIPE HERE or some other rather inventive recipes HERE. 

Buzzfeed gets into the spirit of the new holiday too.

And so does Stephen Cobert, but not in the way you might think or knowing him this is probably what you would expect: 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

And what would a Jewish holiday be without Manishewitz:

More HERE.

And merchandise at moderntribe.

Who says life can't be interesting, inventive and just this side of goofy?

P.S. and if you have noticed there are as many ways to spell Thanksgivukah as there are ways to spell Hanukkah, Chanukkah, Hannukah, Chanukah.....

With the advent of Halloween, the nation enters that time of year I like to call the Holiday Sprint. I am not sure who ever thought that putting all these major holidays together just a few short weeks from each other was a good thing, but I bet it wasn’t a woman with a family. I can see it now, the women putting together their lists, and their ideas of how to celebrate the season. What to serve, getting the kids the proper clothes, who to invite and not invite and how to arrange it and explain it to the younger members of the family when Uncle Sot overindulges on the booze and passes out on the livingroom sofa (you know there is always one).  It is a look of sheer exhaustion; panic and that oft said small prayer to God to help me through this. Why women do this to themselves is beyond me. But it seems that we are hell bent on making things fun for everyone else even if we are too overstressed to actually enjoy the season ourselves. Now add into the mix, the requirements of a special needs child and what you end up with is a balancing act that quite frankly is undoable. Yes, undoable. Oh heavens blasphemy you say. No I say. I have actually come to appoint in my life that I have the strength to say, enough is really enough.

Listen, I am going to say something that is akin to sacrilege. I hate this time of year. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I see no fun in the overstimulation, the sensory overload, the inundation of noises, smells, physicality of this time of year. I don’t even have sensory issues (well not until I started menopause and now that is another issue altogether). I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it has been for the boys. Trying to navigate the world’s sensory stimuli is hard enough but with everything being thrown at them at once, it had to have become overwhelming. I do remember the meltdowns in school and the refusal to leave the house. I had not put it together that it was a sensory issue. I usually just thought it was too much for them to process in general; too much for their brain to filter, between the excited children at school, the barrage of information on the televisions and in the stores. But once I understood we took the proverbial bull by the horns and did something about it.

I do have to admit that this time of year is a little easier for us than most of you. Being Jewish we do not celebrate Christmas, so the smells and lights and the tree associated with Jesus’ birthday doesn’t permeate our home. Now this didn’t mean that the children didn’t have holiday celebrations in school and that there weren’t trees and lights and decorations all over town. We used to go into New York City every year too to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the Christmas windows. I thought it was fun for them, while we don’t celebrate the holiday, the idea that they could appreciate how lovely things are at this time of year and how the nation does celebrate was just part of raising a child in the United States, then one day they said they didn’t like it. Not because they didn’t like the idea of Christmas, they are no fools, but it was too much for them.

 In fact one of my most favorite stories about HSB is when he was 7 years old. It was Christmas Time and the local bakery makes these wonderful sugar cookies. At this time of year they make the cookies, in you guessed it, the shape of Christmas trees. Well not wanting the boys to think that they are being totally deprived of anything fun and that they were still part of society so I bought them a Christmas tree butter cookie from the bakery. You see I have memories of growing up the only Jewish child in my school in the South’s Bible belt, replete with teachers who at this time of year made sure to point out that I was not part of society and generally not welcome. I didn’t want the boys to feel rejected by their own country. A little acknowledgment of the society around them and knowing that they can be different and still be Americans is just fine. So when I picked up HSB at school, I told him that I had bought him the cookie. Now the only part that HSB heard was Christmas tree, not cookie. He became so excited.

“You bought us a Christmas tree!” he exclaimed.

“No, I bought you a Christmas tree cookie,” I explained.

“Oh, “he said with a forlorn look on his face,” you know I am half Christian so I can have a Christmas tree.”

“No, you are not, both daddy and I are Jewish,” I told him.

“Oh, OK,” he said.