I grew up in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, NY. Santa did visit us but instead of wrapped presents under the tree, there were various gifts left unadorned and sinking into the shag rug.

I started collecting ornaments as a young teen. I secretly stored them on top of the high bunk bed which was then vacant. I think the main objections to a tree were lack of room and fear of fire. Though as far as I know, only my friends whose last names ended in a vowel had one.

It wasn't until I had children that I started getting asked questions and at least half were from them. Most of them centered around the obvious-seeming contradiction of being a Jewish family with a tree. And not a Hanukkah bush, but an unapologetically well-decorated tree. 

Oh, the fun and excitement of decorating and of course the morning of. Are we somehow not deserving of this because we haven't paid our dues and gone to church? Are we not being "Jewish" enough? For my religious friends, the holiday has a far deeper meaning than simply a tree and a jolly elf. 

I explain it this way: I believe in magic of all kinds. And in this world that sometimes can be very harsh, I'll take it any way it comes. So that means lighting the candles for Hanukkah, decorating the tree...and celebrating Santa's arrival with family.

However you celebrate or choose not to, I wish you happiness, health, and a little bit of magic. 


Adele D’Man
About The Author

Contributing Writer