Monday, December 20, 2004

Gifts that keep on giving

I knew it would happen eventually, despite all my humbuggery. I've finally caught the holiday spirit like a virus. Though really, this is the week to catch it, not October. My conversion has nothing to do with the sudden cold snap and dusting of snow here in New York. No, my friends, it's all about The OC. last week's Chrismukah episode was the first one of the season that's fully lived up to everything that made me fall in love with the show last season. It was a perfect blend of comedy, schmaltz, and absurd soap opera twists and turns. In a thoroughly mediocre TV season (more on that in a post to come soon) it was a brightly shining star.

Okay, it isn't all about The OC. While I watched (on Saturday), I wrapped presents, and I think it was the combination that put me over the edge. Saturday was my mom's 65th birthday, and since we hadn't had time to actually egt together during any of the eight days Chanukah, there was a whole lot of gift-giving going on.

Adding to the fun, it was Boy's first Chanukah experience. (Of course, since the holiday was actually over we didn't light candles or engage in any religous ritual whatsoever, but that seems appropriate given last week's rant.) When I was a kid, my family's tradition was to give one gift on each night of Chanukah. Now that I no longer live at home we do everything on one night, but we still always exchange eight gifts. Mom even numbers them and insists that I open them in a particular order, as if they were still being portioned out over a week (typically, the biggest item is first, and they get smaller and smaller from there).

Anyway, Boy and Mom have exchanged holiday and birthday gifts before, but this was the first time he came over to the house for the whole ritual. It never even crossed either of our minds that Mom would have eight packages for him too, but there they were! I think this means he's officially part of the extended family now. Afterwards he kept saying, "I made out like a bandit!" "Welcome to Chanukah, my goyish friend," I replied.

In a weird way (due largely to the way the Jewish calendar landed this year) Boy and I have been having a perfect Chrismukah (as Seth says, "8 nights of presents followed by one night of lots of presents"). We exchanged gifts on the first night of Chanukah, then did some more this weekend, squarely in between the two holidays, and we'll be with his mom for Christmas itself where there will be even more, plus his mom and niece and sisetrs. We're both on a budget this year, but spreading it all out makes it more exciting and so far we've both been really pleased with everything we've gotten.

It's been really nice to be reminded of the true meaning of the season. Presents.

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