A Mahopac Jew on Christmas

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Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., Christmas was my least-favorite day of the year.

The town was, oh, 99.9 percent Christian. All my friends talked about gifts-gifts-gifts. I’d go to the Miller household and see their big tree. Then I’d go to the Gargano household and see their bigger tree. On Christmas morning, as everyone was unwrapping boxes, I was staring at my guinea pig, wondering why he pooped so much.

Things only worsened as the day progressed. Cars would line Emerald Lane, and I’d peer out my window to see unfamiliar aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents being greeted at various front doors, their arms holding large parcels. True or not, everyone just seemed so damn … cheerful. Meanwhile, I was cold and alone. And no stores were open.

I digress.

Christmas no longer bothers me, and it certainly doesn’t bother my children. I think a big part of that is the availability of home entertainment options. Back in the day, we Jews would famously escape isolation with a trip to the cinema, followed by Chinese food. Now, though, there are 6,000 channels; there’s Netflix and Amazon and HBO. There’s Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. You can play Xbox Live against some kid in Ethiopia. In short, even Jews on Christmas are connected to the world.

So, to quote Donald Trump, “Merry Christmas to all!”

And, to all, a good day.