Yes, I’m Jewish and I took Man to sit on Santa’s lap. You may gasp in horror now.
Most non-Jews will not find this horrifying at all. In fact, all of my non-Jewish friends said pretty much the same thing: “What’s the big deal?” But to a Jew it actually is a pretty big deal. As a whole, our holidays are much overlooked. You never see commercials for Target six weeks in advance advertising deals on Hanukah gifts. At the supermarket Easter candy and chocolate flow like wine, but you don’t see specials on premade, jarred Choroset or lamb shanks for the Passover Seder plate. And, in a way, it’s understandable; we just don’t make up as much of the population as other religions do, and, therefore the need for such things is less.
So why, you may ask, did I find a great need to take Man to celebrate Santa? I don’t really have an answer for you. It was mostly out of curiosity. I have grown up in a world where Christmas has been highly celebrated and by and large (with the exception of one relationship with a guy who was not Jewish) I have not really participated in it. This was my one chance… my chance to do something mainstream that lots of mommies get to do with their kids. I wanted to do it just once, right now, before Man could really understand the meaning and ask me complicated religious questions. Hey, I wish there was a person dressed up as a Menorah or a latke at the local mall; I would happily take Man to sit on his lap, but we all know that will never happen.
Honestly, I was also just curious to see how Man would react. You always see those pictures of toddlers on Santa’s lap screaming their heads off in mortal terror—would Man react similarly? I doubted it, as Man never shows fear about anything. Would he be fascinated by this holly jolly fat man? Would he pull at Santa’s beard or hit him, knowing subconsciously that this was something “his people” don’t do?
So how did he react?? Like a typical 14 month old. Initially he was fine, then about a minute into it he got bored and annoyed and started to cry. There was no hitting; Man’s arms and legs went stiff and straight in an attempt to be let down while Santa was saying “I think we have what we need!” (You all know that slick move that toddlers do when they don’t want to be held; they sort of become a plank of wood which makes it impossible to hold them.) I have to hand it to Santa; he must be a very patient person to deal with that all day!!
Maybe I just have holiday envy. Everything for Christmas just seems so sparkly and fun! I love looking at all of the decorations and trees. Holiday lights make me happy (except when they are overdone), and secretly I wish it were acceptable to have them hanging all year round… but that only works for college dorm rooms.
So yes, this year I took Man to celebrate Santa. I have mixed feelings; there is some guilt—does this mean I don’t have pride in my own religion?? Exactly the opposite actually; I have the utmost pride in being a Jew, I am proud of the religion, the culture, and its people. I will delight in teaching Man about his heritage; but I also find it important that he understands that there are other religions. Tolerance is an equally importance lesson, especially in today’s world. And if letting him on Santa’s lap is the first step in that lesson than I am all for it!