By Mark David Blum, Esq.
What could possibly shine brighter than a young childís eyes when seeing the Christmas tree littered with gifts on Christmas morning. It is one of those rare moments that wash away a yearís worth of pain and misery that comes along with parenting.
As young person, I donít recall having any Christmases. Being a Jew, Christmas was not our holiday. Of course to the rest of the white Christian community, we were weird. That comes with the territory. My youth was back before the times of Hannukah bushes, blue and white Christmas lights, and the ultimate American marriage between all the winter holidays around the base of a single tree.
My lifeís path led me into the arms of a Catholic girl who birthed me a shiksa child. Wanting my child to not suffer the ostracism and looks and in honor and respect for my lifemate, we have always done the Christmas thing from one end of our home to the other. Armies of snowmen advancing on battalions of santas. The candles and angels and chatchkas come out of hiding adorn every surface. Of course, there is the tree. Standing mighty and strong in the midst of our livingroom, adorned and festooned like a cheap times square hooker; soon to be buried by boxes and bags and goodies galore.
Every trinket on the tree has a history and a story as to its origins and meaning. We have some of the dangly things we bought for our very first Christmas together as a couple. There are ornaments from all over and which run the gambit of subjects.
Two ornaments stand out and have very special meaning. We have had our good years and our bad. Money has been plentiful at times and at others, scarce. One year, we were at near rock bottom come Christmas.
It was the year we did not get a tree because we couldnít justify the expense. My bride did manage to find a small tree-ish shaped cutting and we used that as a windowsill tree. With my youngest and two of her young friends in tow, the girls decorated that Charlie Brown tree with ornaments from scraps around the house -- tin foil, cardboard, glue, glitter. It was the saddest most pathetic Christmas ever. That year, there was no light in my childís eyes; nor in her motherís. To this day, that is one morning I will never forget.
Here we are all these years later and things at present are on the uptick. Still, after all these years, and tears, and beers, and fears, we still have amongst our collection, those handmade ornaments. Every year they too get hung on the tree as they are a part of our history. My bride is embarrassed of them. To me, they are a constant reminder of how bad things can get and how important it is to protect your honor and character so as to be able to protect those who are dependant on you.