'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except me, who took every possible moment to tell everyone how long it was until Christmas. For example, "It's two hours until Christmas!" or "It's 100 minutes until Christmas!" That's because after 28 years on Earth, this year was my first legitimate Christmas, i.e. actually participating in Christmas activities for the sake of Christmas, not the normal Christmas piggybacking I did with watching A Christmas Story on TV for 24 hours straight. (Side note: Jews shouldn't really be piggybacking on anything. It's not kosher).
Usually on Christmas I participate in the stereotypical movie and Italian food. What? Not Italian food? Get out of town! So I've been doing it wrong for 28 years!? Oh well, moving on.
To mark this first ever day where X-Mas truly marked the spot, I celebrated with my girlfriend's family.
As we all know, Christmas has always been an important holiday to me. But this being the first time I ever celebrated Christmas proper, the level of anticipation was heightened considerably with a buildup of practically three decades. So while Jewish Free Day was not in full effect this year, I couldn't have been more excited to see what it was like from the other side of the Christmas tree.
As the clock approached midnight, the need for sleep was at hand, but this was no easy feat. This was like the night before going to Disneyworld. Sleep would be difficult. I tried counting sheep (we were in rural Indiana so it was easy) but I forgot how excited I get when sheep counting. I instead counted pigs. That was boaring and put me right to sleep.
The moment the sun came up I was yelling, screaming, jumping up and down on the bed, bellowing, "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" for all to hear, whether they liked it or not. I opened the window and it was -- kinda rainy and gross, but it was Christmas rainy and gross! So it didn't matter!
I ran downstairs in my all excitement! Then I ran back upstairs since I forgot to put on some pants in all my excitement. With the extra moment of pants assimilation in progress, I decided form that point forward I was going to make everything Christmas themed that day.
"Adam, it's time for breakfast."
"Adam, it's time for presents."
"Adam, calm down"
"Christmas calm down!?"
Since I have only previously celebrated Chanukah, getting all my presents at the same time on the same day instead of one by one over eight nights was amazing. It felt like Netflix for presents. Everything was available at once. And I'm glad to say, Santa did come in the middle of night -- but in secret form. You know, Secret Santa. Heh heh.
So while I didn't get to see the big guy in the red suit firsthand, which was slightly disappointing only because I wanted a Coke, I still profusely enjoyed the chance to participate in actual Secret Santa. (Although I'm still trying to get everyone on board with "Completely Obvious Santa" -- that's when you pick a name and then yell, "Hey! I'm your Santa!")
After opening all the presents, the rest of the day was dedicated to playing with all of our new toys (as an adult, there's nothing more fun than a new humidifier) and chilling. After all, we did the Netflix equivalent with the presents.
Chanukah never gave me the day off of work, but Christmas does just that, so I might as well take advantage of it. I mean, Christmas has eggnog when Chanukah doesn't have any nog! Honestly, the Jews are severely lacking in nog and need to step up their nog game.
I am excited for the future Christmas shenanigans I will no doubt be able to take part in, in years to come. Perhaps I'll throw some Chanukah flair into Christmas Day with a rousing game of dreidel, or a riveting rendition of "I Have a Little Dreidel." Basically, my ace in the hole is dreidel.
So what did I take away from this, my first ever X-Mas? Well I got a couple DVDs, some new slippers, candy and -- that's not what you meant? You meant "what did I gain from this experience?" I see. You want some genuine Adam stuff to finish off this Oy-tastic year. Well, what I liked most about my first Christmas is the idea of taking the time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. Life is hectic; sometimes insanely so. I honestly lose sleep sometimes so I can do the trivial or fun things I enjoy in life, like write this. I don't often get the opportunity to just do nothing without feeling guilt for neglecting something else. Christmas allows, of all things, for me to have that guiltless feeling in whatever it is I do that day. Even if it's just playing games, watching movies or spending time with loved ones.
It's very similar to why I like Rosh Hashanah -- the family element, the excuse to get together for positive reasons. While Chanukah can certainly have that, it doesn't always feel the same as the higher profile Jewish holidays. But having Christmas available in my life (thanks Winter a.k.a. my girlfriend) gives me more reason than ever to say that it is an important holiday to me.
Christmas is a new and exciting opportunity to experience what I love about the holidays the most. Not the presents, not even necessarily the traditions, but the idea of togetherness -- being able to share those presents and traditions. And also maybe the food. Plus, now I can make watching A Christmas Story on TV for 24 hours straight a true Christmas tradition instead of the ironically Jewish tactic of piggybacking. So I pretty much win Christmas.