A Jew’s Guide To Surviving Christmas
1. Drink yourself into a Yuletide hibernation.
This step takes preparation. We all know how hard it’s going to be trying to find a liquor store open on the holiest of holidays. Use this to your advantage. Go shopping days before the 25th and reap the holiday deals. Discount wine? Yes. Discount whiskey? Yes. Discounted vanilla extract? That’s kind of a stretch, but sure. Then, as your stupid friends secure their spots in Christian hell by stuffing their faces with holiday ham, you’ll be fast asleep from your Christmas spirits. Get it? Spirits. Nailed it.
Alright, forget everything I said a paragraph ago about maintaining your Jewish heritage. Sometimes, in order to enjoy something, you have to give in to the crowd. When in Rome, pretend to be Christian. You don’t necessarily have to believe in the birth of Christ, re-birth of Christ, or existence of Christ to celebrate Christmas. My family has bought a Christmas tree six years in a row all without a single drop of gentile blood in our lineage. The first year, I thought it was stupid — right until my mom plugged in those bright, colorful lights and gave me my present on top of the eight I had received from Hanukkah. Nonuplet win.
3. Sleeping with the enemy.
I’ve only dated Christian or Catholic women, most of which fizzled out before the holidays — but on the off-chance that the relationship lasted until Christmas, I was rewarded with a warm house, a loving family, and pound upon pound of ham. Glorious, un-kosher ham! I lived the life I had never gotten a chance to live, experienced the traditions people uphold during this holiday, and even ate fruit-cake. I didn’t even know people still eat fruit-cake, that’s like the food that gets called last during gym class. The best part about beeing inducted into Christmas dinner by a significant other is that there’s no guilt. You don’t have to choose who to see, like on Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve — you know, non-denominational holidays. Your parents will probably be glad to see your mopey ass leave the house. They’re busy working on their Christmas buzz anyway.
4. Complete denial of the existence of Christmas.
This step takes some serious self-reservation, a strictly laid-out plan, and a good movie. If you work for a company that stays open during Christmas, you won’t be able to practice any of my aforementioned steps, so the answer is simple: Christmas doesn’t exist. Those aren’t carolers, they’re a group of strangers who all happen to like the same song, that fat man in a red suit with a child on his knee isn’t Santa Claus, it’s a pedophile, and that’s not Christmas ham — that’s regular ham. Last Christmas I worked a blistering 11-hour shift at a cupcake store. See, months earlier I volunteered to work on the 25th, stating that I was Jewish and didn’t have any plans that day. Flash forward a few months later and I realize Christmas and Hanukkah ran concurrently. So there I was, all alone in Brooklyn, unable to spread my Grinchisms and Scroogicity with anyone but myself. I did what any red-blooded American did and simply pretended Christmas wasn’t happening. I didn’t watch a single holiday movie, I ate a sandwich for dinner, and I went to bed in a state teetering between fulfilled and lonely. It was a fine line, but the line existed. Christmas isn’t real, people; I stole it.
5. Sweet, sweet Chinese food
Chinese restaurants are the oasis in the desert. They’re the lighthouse beacon to the ship lost in a storm. They’re the only goddamn thing open. Everyone likes Chinese food. Some people say they don’t, but they only think they don’t. At the end of a long day shooing away carolers, sneering at happy families opening presents, and well, drinking, the silver lining is the little Chinese restaurant on the corner of the street. It’s a truly symbiotic relationship as they need you as much as you need them. They’ll take you in like a war-torn refugee, offering you the finest dishes, the tallest drinks, and some welcome conversation. You’ll laugh and eat with the other patrons of mixed ethnicities in the restaurants — those who celebrate Kwanzaa, those who celebrate Ramadan, and those who claim to hate organized religion for attention. As you annihilate your dish of spicy unnamed meat, you’ll look around and realize: hey, Christmas ain’t so bad. Of course, Hanukkah is eight times better, but I’m not one to get petty.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.