During a distant decade known for big hair, Lee Press-On Nails, and Bon Jovi (otherwise known as the '80s), a young girl of mixed Jewish and Catholic decent pretends to play Christmas with her dolls. She is desperately wishing Santa Claus, who according to the song visits all "God's children whether you're rich or poor," would come to her house, but apparently God's chosen people, the Jews, are not privy to visits from the almighty fat one. Each year on Christmas, this girl lusts after light displays, steals numerous candy canes from her friends' trees (sorry, guys), and wishes someone would whip up some figgy pudding instead of Chinese food on Christmas Day. She knows all the words to the great Christmas carols: "Joy to the World"; "Blue Christmas"; "Twelve Days of Christmas."
I finally broke my Christmas dry spell when I met and married my ex-husband. I got a big ol' Christmas tree, lights, and a legitimate Christmas dinner, all lovingly next to my menorah. Of course, now that I'm divorcing, eight years later, I am once again alone on Christmas Day. After my ex picks up my daughter, it will be just me having, indeed, a blue, blue Christmas. So what's a nice Jewish girl to do all alone on Christmas? Well, moms, if you too don't have your kids this year on Christmas Day thanks to a divorce or a separation, you can indeed learn a few tricks by this flaxen-haired half-Jewess and become Jewish for the day! Don't spend that day sobbing, sister — survive and thrive!
Laugh at the Ignorant Ones
If you have a mean streak, you could get in your car, grab a bullhorn, pull down the windows, and start shouting: "Santa Claus is not real. It's your parents, you schmucks! They're the ones buying the gifts. Not some obese man!"
See, when you grow up Jewish and you have to sit in preschools surrounded by gentile kids, you knowingly wink to yourself when the teachers say, "Be good or Santa won't come to your house." You knew damn well there was no Santa. You felt bad for the kids who weren't wise enough to know any better. Why not educate the public about this myth? This false commercial prophet? Break the myth: Bring. Down. Santa! Start a social media campaign: We know the truth, mom and dad: #SantaIsMyth.
OK, that's actually ridiculously mean. Instead of breaking the hearts of little children of the world, do what Jews have been doing since Moses's day. Well, almost. Go to the movies! Add some humor: spike your coffee or tea, or "say" it's water when really your bottle is full of vodka. Trust me, it makes the movie more entertaining.
Round up all your single, Jewish, lonely, Muslim, divorced, and whatever friends at your house for a Chinese food fest. Forget goose and pies. What's tastier than wonton soup? What's more delightful than beef and broccoli? Plus, you can eat more. Eat and then one hour later, you'll still be hungry. If you go to a legitimate Christmas dinner, you'll stuff your face and actually end up gaining weight. Go skinny this Christmas. Skip the pie: eat the stir-fry! Whatever you do, don't stay home alone. Jews may like to lay on the guilt, but we weren't alone with our misery out in the desert. Grab friends and have a laugh. Your child will be home before you know it. Don't be Debbie Downer this year. Be Debbie Dumpling. Soy sauce, anyone?
Don't Believe the Hype
Instead of being jealous of all your friends who post family photos of happiness and cheer on Christmas Day while you're home alone like a Jewish girl, recognize the truth. Half of those posts are doctored up to sound good. In your batch of friends: someone hates their in-laws; another person totally screwed up Christmas dinner. Someone's husband bought her a scale for Christmas instead of leather boots like she wanted. Another husband probably ordered his size-small wife a size large. Four out of 10 households will have men sleeping on couches on Christmas night. Five kids out of 20 puked the Christmas dinner, 10 out of 20 kids have the flu and got snot on their Christmas stocking, someone or 50 hates what their mother-in-law bought them as a gift, and another person got into a fistfight with a sibling.
I know that I'm cruel. I'm not saying you should wish these horrible things to happen to others, but to remember that people are only posting the happy moments. No one is going on Facebook saying: "My life sucks and I hate my husband. Merry Christmas!" No one is sharing the truth — or those really ugly sweaters. They're sharing the highlights. They're posting photos of jewelry and smiling faces. You're not alone. The holidays are hard for many people. Take a hint from us shrewd Jews, and don't believe the hype! Buck up, buttercup, and have yourself a latke.
You know, if you're a single or divorced mommy, you're probably really tired. Take today as a day of rest. Watch movies, take a bubble bath, give yourself a mani, and put away any chores for the day. It's not every day that you'll simultaneously get off from work or not have a child for the day. Remember, we Jews may be hardworking, but we know when to observe the Sabbath. Observe the Single Mommy Sabbath and rest on Christmas Day.
Go to a bar, get sloshy, and sing . . . Hanukkah songs. I mean, it's not fair that with all of our talented people in the music industry, the only song we get for Hanukkah is the "Dreidel" song. It just doesn't compare to "White Christmas," which was, in fact, written by a Jew. Forgive me, Dad. With that said, shake up the drunks at the local bar, and bust out the "Dreidel" song on Christmas Day. You won't score yourself a new husband, but at least you'll laugh.
It might be noted that latkes are God's gift to women: carby, oily, salty goodness. Candy canes are nice and all, but they don't stand a chance next to the best way to make a potato. Stuff your face with latkes, and then go caroling around your neighborhood. Be sure to sing the "Dreidel" song.
No matter what you do on Christmas Day, if you don't have your kids, it's going to be hard. I won't lie. So I will just send you hugs, chocolate, wine wishes, and tell you that it has to get better. Right? When it comes to divorce, take it one day at a time and know that this, too, will indeed pass.