epershand: T-Rex from Dinosaur comics says "Utahraptor when I stand like this it means HUGS PLEASE" (T-rex needs hugs)
Ok, this was actually a very excellent Christmas. For one thing, my family's gradual mellowing of our celebration reached its nadir this year--yesterday my Mom said to me "Um, actually we haven't gotten you a gift yet." And then I said "It's ok, remember which daughter you're talking to?" And then she said "Um, what do you want?" And I said "A waffle iron." And then we went to the hardware store and bought one. There was no tree, and there were no lights, but we did make a nice lunch where my parents ate roast chicken and mashed potatoes and I ate vegetable quiche.

And my sister is down south with her boyfriend's family who are all about Christmas, so EVERYONE was happy! (I adore my sister to pieces, we just don't see eye-to-eye on the celebration of holidays and it was nice not to have to compromise.)

I am all about days where one is allowed to lounge about in one's pajamas reading Yuletide. (There's the exact Rebecca fic I've been searching the universe for! And Mary Poppins/Tipping the Velvet crossover smut! And Brontes! And fannish trends in Bellwether fic! And, and, and.) I've been cheerily updating my AO3 Bookmarks with my particular favorites, although the archive loading issues means not all of them have saved successfully and I'll have to go back through.

In general, I'm REALLY HAPPY about the recent changes to the archive, because they work to enable my way exactly of reading Yuletide. If I just want to say "Yay! I have read your story and it makes me happy" I can leave kudos--I'm leaving kudos on every story that grabs me for an actual read-through. If I want to leave a more in-depth comment I can comment on the story. If I want to track it for later and share it with others I can bookmark it.

The static version of the archive makes me feel ok about spawning my five million tabs for batch reading, and then once I finish each story I can jump back to the archive proper if necessary for commenting or bookmarking. And I don't even have to jump back for kudos! It's great--my absolute love and admiration goes out to the AO3 developer team.

Tonight my parents and I went to a shiva/havdalah service at the home of some family friends who just lost a loved one (Esther was 91 when she died last week and had acute Parkinson's). It was a beautiful service, and it felt so good to be sitting in a group singing in Hebrew, something that I've never actually done while at home--my spiritual home is something that I found for myself after leaving my literal home, and having the two united into one was just so wonderful to have. Also, if post-holiday smalltalk gets too frustrating, I now have the perfect conversational kryptonite in the form of "What did you do on Christmas?" "I went to a funeral." It's not 100% accurate but close enough if I don't want to deliver a lecture on Jewish mourning practices. #BadPerson.

So ultimately I'm really thankful for a lot of things about this Christmas:
  • A set of good friends with whom to be grinchy when I needed it--this year I think I had more conversations with people who were frustrated by the ubiquity of Christmas and the assumptions that come with it than I had where people made assumptions about the ubiquity of Christmas!

  • A really wonderful visit with my mom and dad.

  • A really lovely and peaceful Shabbat, concluding up with a gorgeous havdalah service.


  • My sister's leg is healing rapidly from knee surgery and it sounds like she too is having the Christmas that she wants with her boyfriend and his family.

Thank you all, flist/droll. I love you.


Friday, 24 December 2010 18:38
epershand: Goat reads a tag on the back of Pig: "100% pig. Hug. Hold. Feed. And please... be nice." (100% Pig)
Vegetarian tortilla soup, an improvisation )

Tomorrow: quiche with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach.
Possibly tomorrow morning: the legendary [personal profile] epershand jalapeƱo-cheddar scones.

I love the way being at my parents' house brings out my inner domestic goddess. Even if I am kind of Gerard-Way-level unshowered and wearing dirty laundry.

I do not love that the movie options at my parents' house tonight are "genius loses mind" and "cancer." (I picked "cancer", which turned out to be the right choice because I AM beginning to be won over by the unapologetic monologues and John Donne references in Wit. They are ARGUING ABOUT PUNCTUATION. My HEART.)

ETA: Wit is apparently the movie where Emma Thompson plays [personal profile] oliviacirce in her future. She accidentally introduced herself as "Lucy, Countess of Bedford." ::sporfles::
epershand: A tied-up duck with a sign that says "beware of duck" (Beware of Duck)
And lo, with the passing of Thanksgiving, it is now Christmas Season everywhere I go. I never quite know how to handle this time of the year. I grew up with all the correct "do not feel sad, little Jew, there is stuff for you in December too!" books, but my general takeaway was always that they were protesting a bit too much. No matter what Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House says, there are no magical flying grandparents that come to visit Jewish children and make them feel better about not celebrating Christmas.

Chanukah is just such an unexciting holiday. I mean, it's not unexciting of itself, but it's a lot like carob--very tasty until you start pretending it's an adequate replacement for chocolate, at which point it just becomes a bit tragic. And in my case, things were complicated by the fact that my dad's family was Christian, and we did celebrate Christmas, but I was always a bit resentful of the fact that we did so. I settled into my "not a Christian" identity a long time before I had a Jewish community outside of my family and was able to formulate my own Jewish identity.

So it wasn't until college that I finally realized that Judaism had all sorts of kick-ass holidays, they just didn't fall in December. F'rinstance, I'd rather have Purim than Christmas any time--that's when all the other kids are eating chocolate, but you are drinking mimosas until you forget the difference between your friends and enemies and it turns out you never liked chocolate much anyway. ssshhh, don't tell anyone

Granted, there are tons of Christmassy things I love, but they're mostly from my somewhat bizarre Waldorf education and its tendency to appropriate random German holidays? The things that I love about Winter Christian Thingies are bell choruses and St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and St. Cecelia Day on November 22, and Advent Candles, and the smell of pine, and the odd story in The Seven Year Wonder Book about the line of apple trees from the seeds Adam and Eve took from the Garden of Eden that only bore edible fruit when the Christ Child was born. (Like I said, conflicted confusing religious education in early childhood!)

So I generally spend the month of December alternating between sympathetic giddiness collected from the people around me, and seething resentment of all the times it's been taken for granted that the holiday is everyone's. (One of my least favorite tropes ever: Christmas in [Alien|Fantasy] World X, because everyone across the universe celebrates Christmas, silly! Doctor Who and Yuletide fic are the two biggest offenders here, but I quickly learned to skip any Yuletide fic that bears a hint of December holiday theme.)

Recently, there has been the bonus fun of ongoing reporting on the "war on Christmas", wherein evil atheists and their lackeys the people with religions other than Christian intentionally water down the winter holidays with commercialism and non-denominational cheer. As though so much as mentioning on occasion that we do in fact exist is a grievous offense. To be fair, though, I have my own resentments of the PC genericization of "Merry Christmas" into "Happy Holidays", in which Chanukah and Kawanzaa are tacked on sloppily to Christmas sentiment to make the wisher feels less gauche about being in the majority. This, more than anything, is the reason for my creeping avoidance of Chanukah--it reminds me all too much of attempting to explain to highly religious Christian friends that I didn't believe in Jesus even though his story was in the Bible and thus incontestable truth. Christians, you are welcome to December. Just know that I will be making you jealous when I am wasted in March.

This is not, of course, intended as a complaint against the many lovely Christians, religious and otherwise, who I know and love, who I encourage to celebrate their major holiday as they choose! It is just not my holiday, is all. It's the institution I'm complaining about, not your practices.

tl;dr [personal profile] epershand is a conflicted grinchy Jew. PS I like "Grinch Night" so much better than "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", even though it is objectively not as good.


epershand: An ampersand (Default)

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