Marrying a convert has its pluses: Christmas with the in-laws!

Let’s face it, as an FFB I’ve been deprived of some pretty pivotal moments in life. My father never told me to use protection, I never got to go to prom (I still have no idea how to dance with women), I’ve never had a bacon cheeseburger and I’ve never had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas. Am I alone in this opinion? Are there no other Jews who grew up frum and remain frum who will admit to having a twisted fascination with the most goyishe day of the year. It’s not just the goyeurism that intrigues me, it’s the fact that for the first time in my life I have non-Jewish family with which to enjoy a honey baked ham dinner and stocking stuffers with.

Unfortunately for me, my mishpacha doesn’t have the minhag hagoyim of wajking up and opening presents early in the morning after Santa delivered them. Shit, I don’t even think they have chimneys in Southern California and if they do, they sure as hell aren’t brick. So, I can’t have my traditional Christmas, I’m willing to go outside the mesorah just to say I went to a family Christmas dinner and so that I can tell people I brought a ham.

As a pure bred FFB (I think my brother and I are the only people in our entire extended family to marry girls who grew up wearing pants, I wonder if the yichus is rolling in their graves ) I haven’t ever had the opportunity to by a ham for people who could eat one according to halacha. Most of my friends who eat ham are former FFB’s and we would both be getting aveiros if I were to them a ham. Come to think of it, I should probably checked with the Honey Baked folks to make sure that the ham I get my in-laws isn’t made with bassur v’chalav.

I should reiterate that I’m not going to become a non-practicing non-Jew who celebrates consumerism based holidays with little recognition to Jesus, I just want to live the dream portrayed in movies like Home Alone. This has nothing to do with becoming a Christian, all I want to do is sit around with folks wearing ugly sweaters, drinking hot chocolate and talking about their winter cottages in Tahoe.

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  • http://www.brucegodfrey.com Bruce Godfrey

    Heshy your next post should be on the Goyim Shel Minhag Yisrael b’Xmas: Gentiles who long to enjoy Chinese food and go to the movies, but find themselves instead stuck eating fruitcake and putting batteries into plastic toys on the 25th of December.

  • http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/ At The Back of the Hill

    Christmas-eve in Marin county with the retired educators who are parents of an old friend and their crowd. Cioppino, pasta, plus lots of wine. Haven’t EVER had ham at xmas. So, when you finally have that honey-baked thing, let us know. You’ll probably discover what treifus gamur tastes like on chag hakrutshmutsh before I do. Despite my having a yichus which is solidly Goyish.
    Chag sameach, und oyf gazunterheit. Or whatever is appropriate.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Hey I’ll come up to Marin for a party

  • Yerushalmi

    There’s no ????? of ??? ???? for meat from non-kosher animals.

    • Yerushalmi

      Gah. Stupid thing erased my Hebrew. There’s no issur of basar vechalav, that said.

      • Anon e mouse

        Exactly dunno what heshy was getting at

  • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

    christmas is awesome! Well let me say, christmas is awesome when you have inlaws/a family who celebrates it. Without the family get together part I don’t think it’s that great (and i never celebrated it by myself before I met my husband). However I must say this year is going to be my 5th or 6th christmas celebrated with the inlaws and the charm is finally starting to wear off a bit, buying presents is getting old and annoying…but I’m still looking forward to family time :)

  • harryer than them all

    how high does the tree need to be? which corner of the house do you need to place it? how green? how many leaves? Is a plastic tree okay?
    what type of decorations are muttar? how do you hang the decorations?
    What types of things can you put under it?
    If putting it in a certain corner would cause danger, should it be placed elsewhere?
    Do you recite the bracha before standing it up or before hanging the first ornament?
    If I cannot afford to buy both an ornament and a gift for my wife, which takes precedence?

    This is probably the reason why Jews should not celebrate Christmas

    • CM

      Don’t worry someone will find loopholes for every rule. If the tree is not tall enough just put on a star-shaped topper.

    • bratschegirl

      Don’t forget the ultimate question: to flock or not to flock? I foresee a whole tractate devoted just to that.

      • Anon. E mouse

        What the flock is flock

    • For Real

      The gift for the Wife of course

  • http://www.blogger.blogspot.com lola

    I married a convert. You DON’T want to spend Christmas with my in-laws. They will throw you out so fast for not eating the food…..or going with them to mass……or not singing hymns (kol isha)…isn’t it Chukas Hagoy to buy them presents, or even be considering this to begin with?

    • http://www.thecrunchyjew.com/ Dena

      “all I want to do is sit around with folks wearing ugly sweaters, drinking hot chocolate and talking about their winter cottages in Tahoe”

      I have experienced many a Christmas and this I have never seen. I must be in the wrong family.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      You can always put it on your plate, shove it around and pull one like those three angels who didn’t eat Avraham’s food.

  • The Mrs.

    I hate to disappoint you, Hesh, but you’re not getting Xmas dinner out of these folks. Eating tamales off of paper plates while gathered around the television isn’t the stuff of a Norman Rockwell home. They just want to pinch the cheeks of their new in-law is all ;)

  • Mendy

    Seriously folks – Isn’t it assur to participate in a x-mas seudah? Even if you’re not eating the food. Judaism isn’t exclusively about kashrus and what you eat – it’s even more exclusively about rejecting avodah zarah and and everything associated and derivative from it – including x-mas and christmas seudot.

    • Yochanan
    • wondering

      In that case it would probably be assur to give presents on chanuka. Way to go killjoy

      • Mendy

        Why would giving presents on Chanukah be assur? That doesn’t make sense. Only if you’re copying the goyim, but giving a gift on a Jewish holiday is inherently not assur.

        • wondering

          You said “rejecting avoda zara and and everything associated and derivative(sic) from it” Gift giving on chanuka is derived from the christmas tradition and therefore according to you assur

          • Mendy

            Wondering:
            You Wrote: “Gift giving on chanuka is derived from the christmas tradition and therefore according to you assur”

            Gift giving in honor of a Jewish holiday such as Chanukah would not be assur even if the Goyim give gifts during their holiday at a similar time – but talk to your Local Orthodox Rabbi. a/k/a your LOR.

            As to participating in a Seudah even sitting at the Goyishe table and eating – which is in honor of the birth of their god – that would be prohibited.

    • hubscubs

      mendy, you’re assuming that christianity is avoda zara, which many do not assume. they believe in the same G-d as we do, just with some extra “stuff”

      • Mendy

        Christianity is Avodah Zarah for Jews. It’s a machloket if it is for goyim.

  • Crowin’ Cock

    I celebrate x-mas every year. Not in a traditional sense, more in a business sense. Large portion of my yearly income is highly based on Santa delivering my merchadise ;)

  • A. Nuran

    Is it time to tell the Catholic/Protestant/Jewish Christmas Celebration joke again?

    • The Other Mike

      Well, tell it then!

      • A. Nuran

        OK, then…

        Three friends were talking about how they celebrate Christmas.

        The Catholic said “We take a nap in the afternoon before. We go to Midnight Mass, come home and go to sleep. In the morning we wake up, the kids head for the tree and unwrap their presents. Then we have a big meal.

        The Protestant said “We try to get the kids to sleep. The next morning they get their presents. Then we go to Church, come home and have the whole extended family over for dinner.”

        The Jew said “We roll out of bed around 10:30 or eleven. We go out for a long lazy brunch. Then we head down to the warehouse, look at all the empty shelves and sing What a Friend We Have in Jesus

      • A. Nuran

        They tell pretty much the same joke in Indonesia and Malaysia except that the punchline has the Chinese family looking at the empty shelves or the restaurant stripped bare and saying “Eid Mubarak!”

  • jiujitsu princess

    I get my fix of ‘goyeurism’ by strolling the streets of Manhattan these days, enjoying the one time of year when New York actually makes an effort to beautify the city.
    Another salient aspect of Christmas is the proliferation of sparkly cocktail dresses as well, lol. That’s what I would wear if I had a Christmas party at my cousin’s house. no ugly sweater required.

    • A. Nuran

      What sort of jiujitsu? BJJ? Danzan Ryu? Something else?

      • jiujitsu princess

        BJJ all the way.

        • A. Nuran

          Saw a t-shirt that said “I pull guard on the first date”

          • jiujitsu princess

            lol! now if only I knew how to pull guard…
            how do you know so much about jiu jitsu anyway?

            • A. Nuran

              Decades of being a dojo-bum included some submission wrestling and Jiu Jitsu

  • toldos aron

    beeen there done that, first time sitting around with people woman with tight fitting or ultra mini skirts, tank tops with deep v neck, lots of cleavage, it was very relaxed and enjoyable, but holding ground i did not dance with any of `em even begged.

    • Anon

      That aint English pal

    • Really?

      Oh yeah, because ALL goyim wear miniskirts and show cleavage on their holy days. [eyeroll]

      • jiujitsu princess

        you have options! you can hang with the ugly sweater crowd if you prefer.

        • jiujitsu princess

          actually ugly sweaters are the new hot thing in fashion now…

  • happy

    i can relate to that, there is a difference between a mens only beach and a mixed beach, even though when going to a mixed or even a nude beach you dont have sex on your mind ect. you sit there much more relaxed than a mens only. sitting together with both genders in a very non-formal where the women are not zipped up till the top, is every chasidic mans wish

  • Giyur le’Chumra, Jr.

    The good news is that we converts help give a badly needed stirring to the Jewish gene pool. The not so good news is that the relatives you get with us can be as batsh-t crazy as the best of “good old uncle Morty/Zedde Shlomo/etc.” And, when dad converts after the kids are born, using “Peschel the Pesach Porcupine” to transition from the Easter Bunny means a few extra years of candy for everyone until the kids get used to the change in the holiday schedule. Strangely, much of that Easter candy is certified kosher by the OU.

    • A. Nuran

      There’s a lot of truth to that “badly needed stirring to the Jewish gene pool”. When a population is so inbred that genetic counseling is recommended before marriage and members seek out mates with differing MHC profiles it desperately needs a LOT of new blood. The alternative is invasions by the Zulu empai, the Mongol Horde and the Apache Nation combined with Jewish men going out and kidnapping brides from Nigeria and Tonga.

      • jiujitsu princess

        no need to kidnap brides from Nigeria and Tonga! there are enough hot converts or children of converts around , if only most religious people were not so homophobic.

        • A. Nuran

          Ummm, ending homophobia isn’t going to do much for the breeding thing. Ending racism might. Ending discrimination against gerim would. Boys bumping uglies with other boys? Not so much :)

          • AlmightyMexijew

            End the discrimination against Gerim and things will be infinitely better in all aspects of Jewish society.

    • The Other Mike

      Wow, Peschel the Pesach Porcupine!!! Now there is a minhag that I will have to adopt.

  • Never Frum Enough

    Never wanted the Christmas thing. Product of mixed marriage, wouldn’t having been breaking any rules. My hubby on the other hand tells me he was out drinking one Christmas Eve in Manhattan and saw the doors open on St. Peters Cathedral ( I think that’s the big church in the city) and convinced his friends to check out Midnight Mass. He just had to check it out. He’d never been in a church before, and his curiosity got the best of him. He said it was beautiful, but kind of boring. I think it’s natural to have an itch to check it out.

    • Catholic Mom

      St. Patrick’s is the cathedral in NY. Went to midnight mass there once. Got smacked by a priest. Well…sort of. The Church was just switching over from how communion is received — from the priest placing the host in your mouth, to the priest placing it in your hand. I was in college at the University of Michigan and we had a wild-and-crazy (as far as Catholics go) left-wing Catholic student center. We were so radical, the priest held up the host, said “the body of Christ” and we actually reached up and took it from him with our hand. Well…I got used to that. Now in those days (and even in those days) since different churches did different things, you watched discretely what the people ahead of you in line did and then you did what they did. Which I intended to do. But I got in line to receive from the Cardinal (who celebrates Midnight Mass at Christmas) along with like a thousand other people, and they were trying to keep the lines even, so suddenly this usher comes up and grabs my arm and shoves me in front of one of these like 20 other priest giving communion and the next thing I see he’s holding up the host and saying “the body of Christ” and I just instinctively reach up to take it and he freaks out and knocks my hand away with the back of his left hand. I’m so shocked that my mouth falls open and he pops it in. (Well, not really, but I figured out in about one second that that’s what he wanted me to do.) I was so pissed off I didn’t go back there for 10 years. By then…they were all receiving in the hand (although not actually grabbing it, you just cross one hand over the other and they lay it in your palm). So yes, I am a victim of abuse by the Catholic Church, but I have managed to work through it. :)

      • in poor taste

        So glad you managed to work through it. Good for you making light of rape and paedophillia. I am sure all those little boys would have much prefered a smack on the hand.

        • Nancy Bennett

          I’m sorry I made the joke. I realized afterwards it could be considered in poor taste. I was not actually thinking of that kind of abuse, but of the old “getting hit on the hand with a ruler by Sister MaryElephant.” Again, my apologies.

          • Anonymous

            Apology accepted. your candor is appreciated

  • Mordy

    Do you make a bracha when you smell the scent of the X-Mas tree?

  • tny

    Thanks a lot for posting this Heshy
    You had to remind me. Now Im going to skip 2nd seder in BMG tues, to visit my childhood home in Lindenhurst, reminisce, drink eggnog, eat chestnuts by the fire, have some pfefferneusse and gingerbread.