The Christmas book


So I was just reading Dylan Kitts’ excellent blog post on Christmas, and it reminded me of something I’ve been itching to bring up.

The other day my daughter’s first grade teacher gave all the kids holiday gifts. My daughter opened hers, and it was two books—one of them a book about the magic of Christmas. The wife and I had a long debate about this. Considering my girl is a Jewish kid in a public elementary school, Catherine deemed it to be … odd. On the one hand, very thoughtful. On the other hand, we live in an insanely diverse neck of the woods—Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics. So why, in a world of 10 million books, would you give one that literally covers Christmas?

To be honest, I wasn’t bothered. I just don’t see Christmas as anything more than marketing propaganda for 98% of the country, and whether my kid thinks she’s getting her new Barbie from Santa or Chanukah Happy or Mark the Music Man … well, I don’t give a s***. I spent way too many years of my life debating holidays and meaning, only to find that it’s one big, long, fat, ugly waste of time. I actually remember being a kid, and having to perform in the Lakeview Elementary School Holiday Concert. There were probably 10 total songs—eight about Christmas, two about Chanukah. A bunch of parents complained to the school board that Chanukah was receiving too much attention, considering there were about about 20 of we Heebs scattered about. The uproar became a big story in the local news, and I wrote a letter to the newspaper, saying how inane these people were. Received a letter from a local priest, telling me I was 100-percent correct. Made my day.

I’m babbling. My kid kept the book, her teacher will receive a Thank You note and, on December 25, we’ll be eating Chinese food in a movie theatre.