Monday, December 15, 2008

I Wish I Had A River

The best thing about the holidays is that I get to give people presents. The worst thing about them is that I have to.

But I don't pack much emotional baggage for this time of year. I didn't grow up with Christmas, and Chanukah is just not a particularly important moment in the Jewish calendar, though it's certainly benefited from its winter-holiday-with-lights status for those Jews who feel inadequate without a major gift-giving occasion of their own. And while I learned in Hebrew school that it celebrates hope, it's probably more accurate historically to say that it celebrates rebellion.

Which, of course, suits me just fine. I like being an outsider and visiting friends' houses as one; I like having occasions to dress up and wear red lipstick; and this time of year gives me the chance to thoroughly enjoy my hatred of Christmas music.

Wintry tunes like "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman" are okay, but anything that mentions the Savior, the Lord, or the Holy Infant is out. I will carol, if asked, but those words will not pass my lips.

However, I do know every word of Joni Mitchell's Blue, and I am inordinately fond of the by now over-covered "River," longing and cynical and utterly beautiful (and piano-driven).

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