It's always an unusual time of year for those of us who don't celebrate Christmas. Even as a little kid I knew that it wasn't our holiday - and never experienced any jealousy ... we had our own holidays and I always embraced our Jewish culture. I believe my own children grew up like that as well.
But there still is a feeling of being on the outside looking in, and it is mostly felt on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when the TV is taken over with Christmas music and Christmas specials. Ironically, I happen to truly love Christmas music - and even stranger, the more religious of the music is the most beautiful. And as for the Christmas specials - I have to admit that my wife and myself were quite excited to see Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol back on the air for the first time since the 1980's!
The feeling of being on the outside looking in is strongest in the years that we are at home for the holidays. Often - and for the past few years - we spend the holiday in Walt Disney World in Florida. Christmas is just as prevalent there - in fact even more so, but ... well, we are in Disney World where we are not an outsider at all!
If you like seeing the Christmas displays all lit up, how can you beat the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Disney's Hollywood Studios - especially when you remember that these were at one time a private collection of the Osborne Family of Arkansas.
I certainly don't feel like an outsider here ... there is even a small nod to Chanukah which is part of the display.
Perhaps the most religious event happens in EPCOT, The Candlelight Processional. And while it is a celebrity narrator reading the story of Christmas, we love hearing the full orchestra and choir performing Christmas music.
I will admit however, that while I totally enjoy this performance and whenever we are here for the holidays this is a must attend performance, the usual feeling of being an outsider is quite present here.
However, we are home this year - the first year both my wife and I are retired ... we no longer have to be in Disney World during school vacations ... the busiest times of the year. (We will be watching the parade from The Magic Kingdom in a little while though.)
There is not much for Jewish families (and other families who do not celebrate Christmas) to do today, so the tradition of going to the movies has developed. (And yes, many Chinese restaurants are open today as well giving rise to the other tradition.) This year there are quite a few good movies to see. (Our choice, having seen the others, is Les Misérables.)
If you walk through my neighborhood, my house is rather easy to spot as it is one of the few that isn't decorated. Chanukah is over and by tomorrow, Christmas will be as well. New Year's Eve is just a week away and then the Christmas trees start showing up at the curb for the Sanitation Department to pick up ... the lights will come down and we will no longer be outsiders - at least until Easter.
When I wish my online friends a Merry Christmas and they respond in kind, rather than correcting them I accept the greeting as is and in the spirit in which it was intended.
So before today passes, let me wish EVERYONE who celebrates Christmas a Merry Christmas and everyone else Seasons Greetings. New Year's wishes to come under separate cover.