I’ve never celebrated Christmas.
My parents never humored us by getting a small shrub and decorating it with lights, hanging socks from the mantel or even once taking us to the mall to take awkward photos on a drunk Santa’s lap.
We’re Jewish, but not overly so. Hannukah in my house has consisted mostly of occasionally lighting a menorah and eatingsufganiyot (powdered sugar donuts) until I pass out.
My family didn’t try to compensate for the lack of Christmas cheer in our household by going all out during our Jewish festivities.
Yet, somehow, Christmas is my favorite time of year.
I love the holiday season, despite the fact that I don’t get to partake in it in the traditional manner.
So no, my family doesn’t roast chestnuts by the open fire, and there is no fat, jolly man breaking into our house through the non-existent chimney.
But here are fourways I look forward to enjoying the holiday season every year:
1. All I want for Christmas is shoes.
I probably shop like a woman on the hunt for the perfect gift, with one exception: The recipient is me. Unless I get roped into some Secret Santa scheme, the only person of concern during my holiday shopping is myself.
Given that December marks the start of winter, it is the perfect time for me to take advantage of all the sales and update my wardrobe cheap.
Sweaters, scarves, jackets, boots, oh my.
The sale aisle during the holiday season is my version of a Christmas wonderland.
2. Last Christmas, I gave you my number.
I love a good holiday party.
From that corporate one your boyfriend dragged you to the one in college you don’t really remember, there is nothing like slipping on your best attempt at winter formal and mingling with the inebriated masses.
Christmas lights give these parties a special aura, and you never know who might catch you under the mistletoe.
There’s only one exception: eggnog.
What is this frothy white drink, and why would I ever want an egg in my drink?
3. We’re rockin’ around the Chinese takeout.
My dad is an ER doctor, which means Christmas Eve is the prime time for him to make time and a half.
This also means Christmas Eve has about as much family togetherness as any other Tuesday.
But in recent years, December 24 has been transformed to the night my Jewish pals gather to drink the wine of our people and eat the food of other people.
As clichd as this is, Chinese food really hits the spot on Christmas Eve.
It feels like an insider’s delight that none of my Christian friends get to partake in.
4. It’s the most wonderful time of year.
I live in New York.
In general, when walking the gloomy streets on overcast days, you see a lot of grumpy faces (or perhaps Manhattanites have a severely contagious case of resting bitch face).
But during the holidays, for some magical reason, everyone’s mood changes.
Suddenly, people hold open doors and greet each other with smiles and courteous nods. Some may even ask how your day was, or wish you a merry Christmas.
The otherwise gray streetsare lit up with strings of lights and decorated withgreen wreaths and trees. Perhaps it’s the upcoming paid vacation or the prospect of going home and seeing loved ones, but the electricity running through the city leading up to Christmas is unmatched.
It is this awesome mix of tangential relation to a holiday I’ve never in my life felt compelled to celebrate that gets me a little excited to usher in December.
At the first sight of a Christmas tree, my heart wells with the warmth of an end-of-movie Grinch.
So no, I don’t celebrate Christmas. But I do celebrate the season.