“Oh come on, Dave. Certainly during this Yuletide holiday you can celebrate with your family a little, put a present or two under their tree, herald the coming of your Savior. I’ll even wear mistletoe on the front of my waist tonight the way you like it.” Suzanne, winking naughtily, was pulling out all the stops to get her husband out of his recliner in front of the smoldering fireplace in the cozy living room so they could drive the fifteen miles to his brother’s house.
Instead, he just looked up at her with a forlorn expression on his forty-five year old face. “We sent Bob’s family a card, and they know we don’t celebrate Christmas. I mean, they do the whole Santa, reindeer, stocking thing.”
“Get up.” She grabbed his arm forcefully, and he let her pull him to his feet. They both were already dressed for the festive meal his younger brother and their family had every Christmas Eve, so it was just a matter of her getting him to the car. “I don’t care if they put Christmas pudding in the ears of all their elves on their shelves, we’re going.” The forty-two year old software developer gripped Dave with all the strength her gym weight training produced.
The graphic designer heaved a sigh, his barrel chest rising and falling inside the mandatory ugly Christmas sweater.
“Here’s your jacket.” She picked the thick coat up from where it had been draped over the back of the sofa and handed it to him. “It’s cold outside.” Suzanne’s dark, curly, shoulder-length hair bounced as she moved, which always made Dave want to laugh, but her expression said she was all business.
As he was reluctantly donning the final article of apparel, she chimed, “I don’t understand you, Dave. You’re a Christian but you’re the only one who doesn’t do the Christmas thing.”
“I don’t understand you,” he shot back. “You’re Jewish and you don’t give a rip about Christmas. Every December 25th, we go out to your favorite Chinese restaurant with your family.”
“So I guess we can do dinner with yours on December 24th. It doesn’t hurt me one bit. If it did, we never would have gotten married, would we? I don’t know why you don’t want to see your nephews and nieces tonight. They get so excited about Christmas and they adore you.” She took his arm and guided him through the laundry room, after flipping out the lights, and then into the garage. He pressed the wide, flat button, and the motor churned while the chains pulled, opening the garage door.
“But Christ wasn’t born anywhere near this date, and I can’t stand the commercialization of Christmas.” He opened the passenger door for her and she slid into her seat. Then Dave walked around the back of the late-model gray Subaru, opened the driver’s door and joined his wife of twenty years.
After starting the car and backing out of the driveway, with the garage door again closing, he pulled into the suburban street and turned on the headlights.
“It’s not about commercialization or Santa or any of that. It’s about spending time with family. If I don’t believe in Christmas, you don’t have to either, but it won’t kill you to get closer to Bob again. I swear you liked your brother and his family a lot better before they became Christians. I mean, you’d been harping on him to ‘see the light’ ever since your parents died ten years ago.”
“But we took such different directions in our faith. The cross and the Christmas tree are not compatible.”
“Just curb your dogma for one night, Dave. I promise not to bring up Talmud or Shabbos.” She winked and nudged him on his shoulder. “You’ll get to hear all about that from my brother tomorrow.”
“I actually don’t mind Aaron’s perspectives.”
“If you don’t mind my brother the Rabbi, then don’t mind your brother the Youth Pastor.”
Dave took another deep breath as he pulled out into the main thoroughfare, and then let it out.
“Such a sigh,” she playfully intoned.
He turned toward her for a moment, slightly smiled and whispered, “As you wish.”
“Oh, so now you’re Wesley. Just drive the car,” she chuckled, her hair again bouncing by the dashboard light.
I wrote this for Wordle #215 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least 10 of the 12 words listed in the Wordle in a poem, short story, or other creative work. I used all 12 and made them bold text in my story so readers could pick them out more easily. They are:
I don’t celebrate Christmas, not even in a purely secular manner. It’s not just because my wife and kids are Jewish, and in fact the full explanation is complicated (long story). Although my wife rightly calls me a Christian, I’m a pretty unusual one, adopting a more Hebraic-oriented viewpoint on the Bible.
I used all that as the very loose basis for this tale, which really has no drama to it at all. It’s just a “slice of life” piece.
Oh, in cities with a large Jewish and Chinese population, on Christmas Day, when most establishments are closed, a lot of Jews will go to dinner at Chinese restaurants, at least those that are owned by Chinese Buddhists.
No, my brother isn’t a Youth Pastor or even a Christian, and he and his wife don’t have kids. My wife, though one of five siblings, is the only one who chooses to recognize and observe her Jewish heritage (another long story), so neither of my brothers-in-law are Rabbis.
In case you missed it, Dave quoted from the character “Wesley” played by Cary Elwes in the 1987 film “The Princess Bride.”
And for everyone who does celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.