Christmas Mourning: My Jewish Jealousy Confession

Jill Smokler is a New York Times bestselling author and domestic satirist whose candor about marriage and parenting has made her an unlikely hero among a new generation of women. She holds a degree in graphic design and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and has three children. Married to her college sweetheart, she and her family live in downtown Baltimore.

Santa_Menorah_400In my all-new book, Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays, I and other Scary Mommy Nation contributors talk of the highs and lows of mothering and parenthood during the holiday season.

I love Christmas.

I love decorating gingerbread houses and consuming days’ worth of calories in eggnog alone.

Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

by Jill Smokler

  • Get Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays
  • Get Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays
  • Get Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays
  • Get Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

I love the elegant glow of white lights and the tacky glare of the old-school colored ones.

I love elves and I love Rudolph.

I love watching It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story.

I love the smell of real Christmas trees and the ease of fake ones.

I love the wrapping paper and the gift swaps and the crowded mall sales.

I love it.

I love it all.

Sure, you may say. Me too. That’s why they call it the most wonderful time of the year!

But there’s one teeny, tiny problem: I’m freaking Jewish.

Thanks a ton, Mom and Dad.

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve felt a pang (okay, more like a BANG) of jealousy beginning after Thanksgiving and lasting through Boxing Day. Being Jewish in a land of Christmas joy is kind of like being a kid in a candy shop whose mother won’t let him taste sugar. Instead, he gets to take along a bag of fructose-sweetened, all-natural gummies and is told that they’re just as tasty as the real thing. Bullshit.

Sure, Hanukkah is fun. We get a week’s worth of presents and as much fried food as we can shove in our faces, and we can spell our holiday sixteen different ways. But it can’t ever compete with the wonder Christmas offers, and we all know it. The promise and the magic and the warm and fuzzy blanket the whole world seems to cuddle under once a year is something we’re just not a part of, a mysterious club we don’t get to join.

But maybe that’s why Christmas is so magical for me in the first place. There’s no complicated family dynamic clouding my vision or memories of holidays past gone wrong. There’s no fighting in front of the tree or disappointment over first-thing-in- the-morning gifts. No in-law drama or having to be in two places at once. It’s pure and utter fantasy. To me, December 25 is picture perfect happiness, complete with matching plaid pajamas and smiling, joyful faces.

And that’s how it will always remain.

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