Two days ago my Holiday-loving, Mariah-Carry-Christmas-belting, Jewish roommate (Olivia) and I embarked in search of a Christmas tree. We had received some very Southern directions (repeated to the second or third degree) to a Christmas tree stand “over yonder” that had cheaply priced trees and proceeds that went to a local homeless family. A good deal and a good cause? We were all about that! So we set out! Annnnd made it half-way to the Tennessee boarder before we realized we had probably gone too far. “Go a few miles past Mast Gap Rd” is definitely not an exact measurement, but “a few” also doesn’t usually mean 30 minutes in the car. We continued to wander in search of our glorious cause for over an hour before finally admitting defeat and deciding to buy a tree from Lowe’s.
Our MAX budget was $30, and let me tell you, there were some rinky-dink lil ol scraggly trees for $30 that made Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree look like a robust 7 foot fir. We were discouraged and starting to make our peace with buying an underwhelming tree when we found it. From its base to about five feet it was the fattest, fullest, most beautiful tree I had ever seen. Then it stopped abruptly and had only one lone naked branch sticking up to form the last foot of the tree. It was hideous. We loved it. We crammed it in the back of her tiny Mazda and then picked up our other roommate (Tori) from campus and crammed her back there as well (bless her heart).
After we got home we braved our tiny, spider infested shed to retrieve the Christmas decorations (and by “we” of course I mean “she” while I stood at a safe distance moaning and nervously rocking back and forth in anticipation of a spider attack). The decorating of the tree commenced the next morning in our usual bickering/bantering style…
Olivia and Tori were going to wrap the lights around the tree (with Tori unraveling and Olivia placing them on the tree itself while I supervised) when I noticed Olivia start the strand in the middle of the tree…
Me: Don’t start in the middle, you barbarian.
Olivia: Oh, I’m sorry. DON’T JUDGE THE JEW’S CHRISTMAS DECORATING ABILITY
Me: Fair enough
A few minutes later Olivia held up a strand of lights…
Olivia: Wow, this looks like a carbon chain!
Tori: Shut up.
Once we started putting the ornaments on the tree, I sat down to put the hooks onto the ornaments while Tori and Olivia put them on the tree…
Tori: I can take over putting the hooks on if you want to put some on the tree.
Me: Nah, that’s okay. I always put the hooks on growing up because the kids were too small to do it. It’s my own little Christmas tradition.
Olivia: Well, you’re a very good hooker, ur, hook-puter-on-er.
Me: Thanks guys.
I love my roommates and their love of festivities. I love that Olivia loves to join in on our celebrations and is happy to share hers with us too. I love that we have her menorah and dreidel on the coffee table and that she happily answers whatever questions we can think to ask about how Hanukkah is celebrated. I love the sharing and mixing and observing of different holidays, cultures, and backgrounds. I love how much I’ve learned about Jewish customs since moving in with Olivia and how natural it feels to share and learn and experience with one another. So from our household to yours, Merry Hanukristmas.
Until next time,