Princess: The Princess’ Christmas gift list
December 24, 2015
Let's be honest: The Christmas hype, at least as far as I'm concerned, was always about getting lots of awesome presents.
This is why I demanded from a really young age that my Jewish family participate in it. See, Santa Claus was a religion I could get into. I believed in Santa with all my heart. If ever there was a god for a Jewish princess, the fat guy in the red suit bearing gifts was it.
It was my cousin Todd who burst that bubble one day when he said point-blank, "You know it's your parents doing it, right?" Needless to say, I was devastated.
Then there came the day when my parents felt we were old enough to boycott Christmas, considering it was a holiday for a religion they didn't believe in.
"Yeah, right," I said, elbowing my younger brother. "As if they would do that to us. They're just trying to surprise us."
That was so not the case. They had just sort of had it, and who can blame them? They had indulged me long enough.
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Now as an adult, I have to sort of forge my own way when it comes to creating our own holiday traditions, and so far I haven't really succeeded at it. Ryan had very little to bring to the table on that front, either. So far, all we have is a white, metal Christmas tree with colored lights that we just drag out of storage and plug in every year (it's actually pretty cool and super-low-maintenance), a wooden skiing Santa that sits on the shelf above the TV (also cool) and a few wrapped gifts Ryan's parents brought with them during their last visit on Thanksgiving.
Ryan and I gave up on exchanging gifts a few years ago when we both struck out with presents that were the wrong size, the wrong style or the wrong item altogether. Now I've introduced Jewish Christmas, wherein we go to Bristlecone together and pick out what we want and buy it for ourselves. It's actually really fun and extremely satisfying, especially for those who prefer instant gratification over surprises (you know who you are).
Now that I am about to bring a child into this world, it's time to get serious about creating some traditions that have value and meaning. I have already talked to Rabbi Shareen about my child being a reason to finally get an education in the Jewish tradition since my parents kind of skipped over all that, if for no other reason than to give him some context for our existence in this world and a community to support him as he navigates his way through it.
Second, I want to start a tradition right now that I'm going to call the gift list. This is not a list of gifts you want but rather a list of the gifts you've been given, to take a moment to appreciate what you do have rather than to focus on what it is you think you want.
Family: I have been beyond blessed when it comes to family, not only my own immediate family but my in-laws, who seem to have magically doubled the love in my life over the course of a few years. Ryan and I both have a very rare gift in that our parents are all still married and have set an amazing example of what a successful marriage looks like after 40-plus years together. His parents and mine actually get along with each other, too, which is not only rare but also really enjoyable. All I can say is thank God we're all members of the same political party — that really helps.
Good health: As we approach the age when our parents are getting older, you realize how precious good health really is. My parents have seen their peers go through all kinds of medical trauma in the past few years. My mom's best friend lost her husband to Alzheimer's less than a month ago. I think health is one of those things you take for granted until it's gone. We are so blessed that all four of our parents are in excellent health and are able to remain active and do all the things they love to do. Which leads me to my next item:
Yoga: I can see you rolling your eyeballs and wondering why skiing and snowboarding isn't higher on my list. But for a kid who was raised without religion, yoga has grounded me in so many ways, even if Bikram turned out to be a megalomaniac and possibly a rapist. Guru aside, the practice of yoga has given me a fountain of youth, a practice, a way to get centered and to understand the balance of mind, body and spirit. It's given me three sisters and an extended family of teachers and friends for whom I am forever grateful.
Girlfriends: There is no time when your girlfriends become more important than they do during pregnancy, and my village did not disappoint. I have never felt more cared for, more showered with love, more protected or more valued than I do now. I am so lucky to have so many amazing, beautiful and inspiring friends.
Gertie: I'm pretty sure God is living under our roof, and she is a pug.
My husband: I scored big-time. Enough said.
Pregnancy boobs: Oh, beautiful cleavage, I will love you for as long as you last, and please, God, do not let these ample bosoms deflate and fall like empty sacks, requiring that I finally succumb to the Pandora's box that is cosmetic surgery.
Baby Margo: I don't understand how it's possible to feel so much love for you already and to know you so well, my little dancing bear. Please just arrive here safely. Amen.
The Princess wants to wish you and yours a very happy holiday. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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