November 21, 2018

Life Through Six-Pointed Glasses

As another holiday season comes to a close, I thought I’d mention something that happened to me recently that changed my perspective, even if just a little. A couple of weeks ago, I bought some postage stamps.  The stamps had a picture of Charlie Brown getting a letter out of a mailbox covered in snow. I remember thinking “Do I really want Christmas stamps?” Then I  thought “why do I think this is a Christmas stamp?” After all, what do the mail, snow, or Charlie Brown have to do with Christmas? And yet, the picture felt very Christmas-y.

I now realized that I felt that way because, as the years go by, an increasing number of items and characters that have nothing to do with Christmas have become symbols of the holiday.   Indeed, Christmas has so co-opted the “Holiday” season (sorry, Donald Trump), that thousands of completely natural, ordinary things have become symbols of it, such as:  snow, snowmen, snowflakes, chestnuts, candy canes,  peppermint candy, any hard candy, gingerbread, any pastry with confectioner’s sugar, any pastry with icing, any pastry, fireplaces, socks, sleds, rocking chairs, rocking horses, basically any toy that rocks (not in a cool way), any toy made of wood, any toy made of tin, any toy sold from September through January, bells, anything green, anything red, nutcrackers, cheese and crackers, pot-bellied stoves, pot-bellied men, and white facial hair.

Basically, in December, anything you see besides a menorah (although I’ve seen some of those in Christmas displays) has become a symbol of Christmas.  So what’s a Jew in December to do? Not leave the house? For the non-agoraphobic, I don’t think so. My solution? I decided to step out. But I decided that no matter what I saw, be it Santa, reindeer or snowflakes, I’d be seeing them through Jewish-colored glasses.  After all, as we go through life, it’s not so much what we see that counts, but the lens through which we see them that counts.  So to paraphrase Ol’ Blue eyes, as I go through life, I’ll see it my way.