Every December 25th I see a movie and eat lots of Chinese food. Being Jewish in a world where people start getting ready for Christmas right after Halloween can be difficult at times. Although, I do celebrate Hanukkah and exchange gifts with my friends and family, it still is not the same. It is very boring being Jewish during the holiday season. People always ask me, “So you never had a Christmas tree?” “What do you do on Christmas morning?” “You don’t even celebrate it a little?”
Honestly, my family and I do not celebrate it at all; it is not apart of our religion. It does not bother me too much because we have our own traditions, and it is all I have ever known. I get to sleep in on Christmas morning, which does not happen too often. My siblings or other Jewish friends and I go to the movie theater and for dinner we eat lots and lots of Chinese food.
However, this past December 25th became Christmas for me. My best friend, Tracy, told me Christmas dinner was at her house this year and that I could come.
Tray told me I could come celebrate with her and her family about a week and a half before Christmas. Every day I would call her and ask different questions. “Are you sure it is okay if I come? What should I bring? What should I wear?”
Although Tracy has been my best friend since kindergarten, and I know her family very well I was still really nervous. I honestly had no idea what to expect and I did not know how I should behave. Anything I know about Christmas dinners is from what I have seen on TV and in the movies. Tracy understood and explained that it is a normal dinner with a lot more food, a lot more people, and a bit fancier.
I was the first one to arrive to their Christmas dinner. I was so happy to see that I was not the only one wearing a dress. I was nervous that I was going to be overdressed.
Before everyone else arrived, Tracy’s mom took pictures of Tracy and I in front of the Christmas tree. Apparently I was not the only one who was excited for my first Christmas.
After everyone arrived, and after all the kissing and hellos, we sat down to eat dinner. Before we could eat we had to say grace. I felt uncomfortable because I have never said grace before, I had no clue what to say or do. Tracy just told me to hold her hand and put my head down.
Everyone was extremely hungry. I think we all purposely did not eat all day, so we could eat a lot at dinner. There was so much food; there was ham and turkey. There was also stuffing, a pineapple dish, garlic bread, salad, green beans, and mashed potatoes. It was all very delicious. Just when I thought I could not eat anymore, dessert came out. There were gingerbread men cookies, pitzels, sugar cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels.
After dinner and dessert everyone exchanged gifts. Tracy’s family even got me a gift; that was so thoughtful. I am so thankful Tracy’s family allowed me to celebrate Christmas with them.
Usually December 25th is a long, boring day for me because everyone is busy and no stores are open. However, this Christmas was enlightening and fun. I know Christmas has an important history, but I really got to see how wonderful it is for a family to be reunited during this time of year. I am certainly looking forward to Christmas next year.
Elyssa Sobel is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at ES608235@wcupa.edu.