By Claudia Saide
I grew up in a modern orthodox Jewish home. That means that we celebrated every Jewish holiday under the sun, from Rosh Hashanah to Passover. But we never got Christmas. We did have Hanukkah, but it’s not really the same (minus all the presents—thank God for those presents). I’ve never had a tree, never a stocking hanging on the mantel stuffed with goodies, no Santa blow up doll on my front lawn.
Yes, I’m totally complaining. I have always been obsessed with Christmas. I mean, the trees and the lights are all so beautiful, and everybody seems so happy. And A Christmas Story is on every night for like two weeks!
So every year I secretly wish that someone invites me to her Christmas celebration, but it hasn’t happened yet, and since my husband is totally opposed to getting a tree (or even a Hanukkah bush for that matter—WTF Isaac?), I’ll just play pretend again, with you guys as my audience. Bare with me, this is the seriously abbreviated version.
My tree is a White Spruce—it needs to be able to hold a shit ton of ornaments. Fancy ornaments that I’ve collected from all over the world, and handmade ones that my son brought home from school. Of course, there are two turtle doves (call me cliché, but I loved that part in Home Alone).
We finish decorating right after Thanksgiving, and Isaac comes home early to help Henri top the tree with a beautiful star (again, I’m Jewish, of course I’m going to be cliché about this), and then we sit around our living room enjoying our beautiful seasonal addition as we sip hot cocoa spiked with Bailey’s (do people do that?).
We string white lights and holly throughout the house, and hang our stockings on the bookshelf (no fireplace here, gotta be somewhat factual). Mine would be filled with Kiehl’s lip balm, and a Le Labo Another 13 roll-on perfume. It would have those Peppermint Lindt Lindor truffles too—I love those—and mini bottles of 1942 Tequila. Oh, it would also have that YSL purple mascara that I love so much.
As for my wish list, I’ve requested an Olympia le Tan book clutch, a new rose gold MacBook, a Delpozo sweater (I made that wish come true this week—soooo good), and a thread earring from Cat Bird. A new pair of Manolo’s wouldn’t hurt either. And also maybe a Marysia bikini that I could wear after I have the baby. I also really want a Eugenia Kim beanie. Hopefully I’m on the nice list.
Then Christmas Eve comes and everyone’s wearing their ugly sweaters, and we have hors d’oeuvres by the tree (naturally). My mom cooks the whole meal, because she’d be good at Christmas dinner (I wonder what she’d think of that). For dessert we have those gingerbread man cookies that I always see in stores. The ones with the frosting? They look way better than they taste, I know. But they’re just so quintessentially Christmas, right?
And Christmas morning comes, and we trickle down in our PJ’s to open gifts. Each one is wrapped with such precision, and adorned with gold ribbon. It’s picture perfect.
I get the MacBook and the Olympia le Tan clutch (score!). Henri gets his Magna-Tiles and teepee, and Isaac gets his seventh iPad (not because he’s high tech and needs the latest one, but because he broke all his others), and some new Ferragamo boots. There are other gifts too, but those are the big ones.
Then, after we enjoy our gifts some, we throw on our coats and boots, and brave the snowy weather (of course it’s snowing—it’s Christmas!) so we can head to the diner for pancakes and eggs. Because what’s Christmas morning without pancakes?