I was raised Jewish and have been a non-believer since I was ten years old. How do you know when someone is a non-believer? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you as soon as they can 🙂
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a Christmas tree. It looked like so much fun to have in the house! I wanted to decorate it with as many colorful lights as I could possibly put on it. Every year, I would ask my parents if we could get a tree. Every year, the answer was the same. We’re Jewish, we’re not getting a tree.
One year, in an effort so appease me, my mother said that we could get a “Hanukkah Bush”. I had never heard of such a thing but was very excited to get in on the holiday action. What would it be like? Are we going to the garden store to buy some sort of tree-like bush for Jews? Can we still put all of the colorful lights on it and ornaments too? Would we drink eggnog and sing songs around it? I was really looking forward to joining in on all of the holiday fun that everyone else seemed to be having. My mom said. “we’ll get it tomorrow and you can see it when you get home from school”. I couldn’t wait.
I ran into the house after school the next day. Where is it, Mom? Over there, in the corner. What? Where? Over there, in the corner. Our Hanukkah bush turned out to be about as exciting as everything else is about Hanukkah(except latkes, those rock). The “bush” was maybe 2 strips of fake tree branches with a few blue lights on it. It stood a good foot tall. It was definitely not something you would sit down next to and open presents in front of. What a letdown!
It was at that point that I swore I would always get a tree when I was older and had my own place. I didn’t care what religious significance the tree had, if any. In fact, I still don’t know. I guess I could look it up but, given my feelings on religion, I don’t really care. The fact is that Christmas trees are just super cool to have in the house. They smell great and they look great too.
As soon as I had my own dorm room in college, I went out and bought a small, fake tree and some lights. It was festive and I actually kept it up year round in my dorm. Not a year has gone by since that I haven’t gone out and bought a tree. Religion in general gives me hives. But man, you Christians got it right with the tree. Who wouldn’t want a tree in the house? Merry Christmas Baby.