Reflections from a Jew on Christmas
Hey, this is my holiday shoot. Yes, I am holding pinecones and wearing a wintery sweater that could border on being Christmas themed. There are trees with and red and green behind me, and I'm clearly enjoying it.
But here's why that's weird.
Growing up in a Jewish household with a post-holocaust mentality, I was never allowed to have anything to do with Christmas. Every time we walked by a store with Christmas decorations or heard a Christmas song, my mom would complain that evil corporations were trying to convert us. If I ever came home from school with a colored in reindeer activity sheet, my mom would take it away from me. I think my parents were deathly afraid of losing their Jewish identity, and to them being Jewish, among many things, meant NOT partaking in anything that could seem Chrismas related. If you were a Jew who celebrated Christmas, you had basically assimilated and were contributing to the erasure of Jewish identities.
What about Chanukah, you may ask? It was a minor holiday that was coopted by American society to be the Jewish version of Christmas. We still celebrated it, but we were taught not to consider it as important as other Jewish Holidays.
Now that I'm grown I realize that's all crazy. You can be Jewish and enjoy the Holidays. I still have these ideas deeply embedded in me because everything associated with Christmas was bad: wreaths, pinecones, chestnuts, candy wrapped in green and red, even neutral things that promoted the Christmas spirit like snowflakes were up for debate.
When I did this shoot, I was totally feeling the magic that the Holidays bring. We were in Beacon Hill with beautiful cobblestoned streets and houses decorated with wreaths. People walked around carrying Christmas trees to their homes, kids were singing carols. It felt like no one around me had any real problems to deal with. Probably because it's the wealthiest part of Boston, but it made me dream of a life when things will be better for all of us. When all queers can live authentically without being harassed or murdered, when my siblings of color don't have to feel the fear in their chest every time a police car drives by, when senseless gun violence is a thing of the past, when we move to renewable energy and enjoy cleaner air and healthier food, when we create our own families who love and accept us. I guess there's a part of me that dreams of times that are better and wants to believe it's possible.
My outfit features some recent staples I picked up at Gap, and some amazing white high tops from Topman (similar style here.) I love these joggers because they can work with nicer outfits but they also work as joggers.