I was delighted to spend some time beta-ing for Amelia Gormley recently (meaning I got to read Book 2 of her wonderful Inertia series sooner than anyone else–nyah nyah, oh, oops. Sorry. ) and we spent some time discussing what holidays might be like for an interfaith family, since her protag Gavin has one Jewish parent and one Christian parent. I’m handy because I’m the Jewish parent in a similarly blended family.
And in the course of this discussion I told a little story on myself, to which her reaction was “Snork!” So I figure you guys might as well laugh at me too. It’s about the Marital Unit’s and my first Christmas tree, early in our marriage.
This is where I confess to being extremely unobservant. Not as a Jew (well, there is that too) but as a person who looks at things. I’ve seen decorated trees all my life and thought “ooh pretty” and never really considered what’s holding anything on. I finally wrap my head around the idea that my husband’s traditions are as important as my own and that if he wants a tree, we get a tree instead of draping some twinkle lights in the houseplants and calling it good. So, I figure we’ll have a real homy traditional evening of decorating the tree (having watched one too many Hallmark Specials, I guess) and am unprepared for “You can take care of it, honey.” I should have been: that’s how we planned the wedding.
So clueless honey goes out and buys lights and ornaments and sets to work. But what honey didn’t get was those little hanger doodads. Honey doesn’t know about hanger doodads.
So there I am, holding a glass ball and noticing for the first time (I am 33 years old, mind you) that the little wire loop comes out and is about the right size to go around spruce twigs. Therefore I am extracting wire loops, wrapping them around twigs, and poking the ends back into the balls, cussing up a storm. “There has to be an easier way,” I think, and even get out some paperclips to create some hangers, but I don’t like the long dangle effect, it doesn’t look right, and go back to fighting with the wires. I get that tree decorated all right, at the cost of my sanity. The Marital Unit comes home, admires my handiwork and the set of my eyebrows, evaluates the muttered “You goyim are crazy,” and busts out laughing.
“You Jew-girls don’t pay attention,” he informs me, and yeah, well, this isn’t my tradition, why would I notice these things?
What follows is one of those marriage-enhancing discussions (at high volume) about sharing, and if he wants a Christmas tree he was damned well going to do more than drag a chunk of forest into the house where it didn’t belong.
He buys two packages of hangers the next year.