Once the holiday season rolls around, I re-up my Christmas traditions and how I can build on them: decorating the tree with ornaments passed down from beloved relatives, arranging the house with bright lights, donating warm clothes and pantry items to local charities, planning the Christmas feast from the family’s best recipes, and wrapping piles of gifts!
The final weekend before Christmas, I customarily organize a gift-wrapping session. I start by clearing-off the dining room table — goodbye junk-mail and unread newspapers! Then I gather-up the wrapping supplies, put on some good music, and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season with friends and family.
This year, after catching-up with one of my Jewish friends and realizing that Hanukkah falls super-early (it’s already on its third night!), I proposed an impromptu gift-wrapping session this past weekend to accommodate her schedule!
We covered everything, like, favorite gifts received? Hers was a vintage Swiss watch from a favorite aunt, and mine was a photo album made by my nana of her childhood that mirrored photos of my own.
But there was one question that really got to the heart of our get-together: what are your true feelings about the holidays?
While we were chatting about the similarities and differences between Christmas and Hanukkah (I’d gladly trade lumps of coal for chocolate gelt!), she told me that in Jerusalem, where she’s gone a couple times to visit her relatives, the Old City is split into four quarters connected by ancient gates: Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, and Christian. All four cultures live on the same streets in the same walled city, but pray to different gods, speak different languages, eat different foods, follow different holidays on different calendars, and are governed by different laws! And despite their vast differences in culture and history, they equally respect and accommodate each other’s customs.
At its core, the holiday season amplifies everything that makes us different, but the warm spirit of the season forges commonalities and good faith, and brings out the best qualities of humanity: brotherhood, kindness, compassion, respect, and generosity, regardless of which god you pray to or which calendar you follow.
Holidays are about making time for family and friends, near and dear, and respecting the customs and beliefs of everyone, regardless of religion, race, or land.
I’m grateful for gaining new perspectives and making new holiday memories with old friends!
Happy holidays! Enjoy the season of feasting, sharing, giving, gifting, and decorating!
Deck the halls! Target’s got you covered with joyful holiday cheer, from inspiring your festive table to helping you bring out your kitchen’s best seasonal recipes! From Target, I received a two-pack of 10-inch-tall, cream-colored unscented dripless taper candles from Threshold™; a set of super-chic, lightweight gold candle holders with a shiny golden finish from Threshold™; and an acacia wood serving tray with decorative handles from Threshold™, which has “Joy” written in a simple print to remind you of the holiday cheer. The Opalhouse™ rectangular side tassel slub table runner in off-white cotton with vintage tassel detailing adds a bit of style and charm to your holiday table.
During a recent Target online purchase, included in one of the photos above, I bought the short, multi-strand faux-pearl necklace from A New Day™, which will make an exceptional gift…if I can bear to part with it!