This year, because of this Covid-19 nonsense, I’ll be spending a quiet Christmas eve and day at home. My kids decided to move the holiday ahead about three weeks because of virus concerns. Well, nothing much I can do about that, as Christmas is not the same without family. But then I thought, I’ve spent a bunch of unconventional Christmases. So do people across America.
I’m a Roman Catholic now, have been for 25 years. But before that I was Jewish and grew up Jewish. However, my dad was a very assimilated Reform Jew, as he had grown up Orthodox Jewish in Cuba. When he became an American he did so with a passion. So, not wanting to deprive us kids of the secular bonanza that is Christmas, we definitely celebrated the pop culture aspect of the holiday. We a had a Christmas tree my dad sarcastically called a Hanukkah bush and we opened all our presents Christmas morning. I think we were all too impatient to wait all the nights of Hanukkah.
As I grew up in South Florida, I spent my adolescent Christmases on a beach at giant Cuban cookouts replete with roast pigs, mountains of black beans and rice, multiple loaves of delicious Cuban bread, finished off with tasty flan. We were usually clad in polo shirts and tennis shorts. If the temperature had dipped below 60 degrees, the virtual Arctic for a South Floridian, we threw on khakis and a sweater. It never got colder than that.
Later in Pennsylvania for many Christmases I got my fill of snow. Shoveling it to clear walkways and parking spaces, heaving it off of my car, and slipping on the ice and pratfalling directly on my rear. I don’t miss it one bit. Here in Maryland it can get cold. But the ice isn’t bad and there is very little snow here by the Chesapeake. I can comfortably live with this.
Friends have told me about the beauty of the Western plains during the holidays. I’ve seen Denver at this time and it’s pretty. I have pals in New Orleans who rave about a Cajun Christmas. Gotta try it. I know New York City and Philadelphia during Christmas, both are magic, especially places like Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Don’t know the West Coast at all during the holidays or hardly at any other time. Will be glad to keep it that way.
But most places you go in America have the feeling of happiness and goodwill at Christmas. It’s certainly not that way much of the rest of the year. It’s a thing to cherish.