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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

The Christmas Test, #118

I boldly told Ronnie, just under a year ago, that giving up Christmas wouldn’t be hard. After all, it isn’t like I ever decorated my home as an adult. It was one of his first questions, somewhere after, “What do you mean studying with a rabbi?”

It is going to be harder than I thought. To test me, Chicago is really putting on a show this year and really early. Doesn’t Christmas season start AFTER Thanksgiving? After, like the day after? Maybe on Wednesday, you can put up some lights to get ready for Friday. But come on people, just under a month, that is what you get.

So now I’m jewish. I’m not a Grinch anymore (I never was, I enjoy Christmas. Especially gift giving. Gift receiving is fine, but I love gift giving. I love gift wrapping. I love being a third party gift giver and gift wrapper.), I’m a Jew. It officially ain’t my thing (but I don’t deny the existance of Christmas and won’t skip my family festivities.).

As one big ol’ test, Chicago decided to throw my way–the CTA Santa Express.

Saturday I stopped at a convenience store under the Red Line to get a soda. They were already playing Christmas Carols. “Isn’t it a little early?” I asked. “Yes,” agreed the clerk, “but my boss wants to liven the place up.”

I go through the turnstile, hear a train approaching, and start running. I burst through the door onto the platform and there it is. The CTA Santa Express. It is the Red Line, it is making all stops, but there are elves at the doors passing out candy canes. There is a flatbed car in the middle with Santa Claus on it. The poles you hold onto for dear life are red and white stripped, the light bulbs have been replaced and are red and green, tinsel hangs, and red bows adorn, and fake advertisements for North Pole themed items fake market.

Then they pipe in music, christmas carols, Elvis singing about Jesus. It was bizarre. I laughed, what else could I do. But then I started to understand why jewish kids feel left out. All that stuff we say is Secular, isn’t Christmas, it is seasonal. Know what? It is Christmas, no denying, it is as Christmas as it comes.

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