Two coworkers sang this song to me this morning, neither of them Jewish. A little context:
“Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel / I made you out of clay / And when you’re dry and ready / Oh Dreidel we shall play”
Yesterday I handed out holiday gifts at my office, a practice I’ve never participated in before. I prepared bags of chocolate gelt and dreidels, together with a small instruction sheet on how to play the dreidel game. Year after year, I’ve received Christmas gifts from my colleagues, and year after year I struggled with what I perceived to be an awkward conflict of interest. I also had never much appreciated feeling guilted into giving. I’ll chalk that last one up to youth.
This year, however, my attitude changed. I don’t know if the change of heart can be attributed to Hanukkah and Christmas occurring so close together this year or being softened by the warmth of starting a new family with my husband. Either way, I decided to participate. I even decorated my desk with an electronic Hanukkiah (the special Hanukkah menorah) and a decorative dreidel. I didn’t do this to announce to the world that I don’t celebrate Christmas, but instead to join in the season’s joy.
It’s the thought that counts…
This year a coworker assured me that her Christmas present to me wasn’t meant to be offensive; she hadn’t known we were Jewish. While I can’t speak for all Jews, I certainly didn’t find offense in a thoughtful gift. I also hope no Christians felt offense that I gave a Hanukkah-themed gift. I don’t worry if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. And I think that should work both ways. Many people balk at the generic “Happy Holidays” greeting as somehow watering down their Christmas holiday, without noticing that some of us do feel a bit out of the celebration. Then again, a friend once asked me–in a serious manner–why Jews don’t celebrate Christmas.
So my holiday wish this year is, whatever you celebrate…happy that.
Hanukkah Holiday Sous Vide Turkey Roast
Without further ado, I bring to you a sous vide turkey breast guaranteed to satisfy your guests this season. For us, it’s a Hanukkah sous vide turkey roast, served alongside saffron mashed potatoes and a Moroccan-spiced cranberry chutney. For you, it may be a Festivus sous vide turkey roast. Label it however you like, it’ll be delicious either way. Gone is the dry turkey breast of a traditional roast, as well as any danger associated with the fried turkey (although, don’t get me wrong, fried turkey is da bomb…or whatever kids say these days).
By the way, back to the dreidel song above. Both of these coworkers had given their dreidels I gifted to their children. Apparently, these coworker’s children had been taught the dreidel song this year as part of a curriculum that includes all of the season’s holidays. The kids were delighted by them…news which honestly made my day.