A Jew, a Christian and a Christmas Tree

Charlie Brown Christmas treeA certain sad-sack once rescued a forlorn tree from certain Christmas oblivion, giving it a home and a single ornament to call its own.  When Charlie Brown saw that sad, lonely tree, it spoke to him and he knew it was meant to be.

This year, a tree spoke to my husband.  Just like that.  Only different.

As we and our two boys wandered onto the tree lot, bundled up against the cold, Gabe came to a standstill right in front of a 10-foot tall behemoth — a well-placed street light causing heavenly rays of light to beam down upon it.  This King of the Lot spoke telepathically to the Master of the House, saying something only the man and the wood will ever know.

And then the Master of the House spoke back.

Tall Christmas trees, choosing a tree, Chrismukkah, Christmas“I want this one,” Gabe said.

I threw my head back and laughed.  Then I noticed his serious face and gave him that look that says, “Bless your Jewish heart.”

“Honey, this tree is way way too big,” I said, gently pulling the boys towards the grove of 8-foot trees, hoping he’d follow.

“No, it’s not.  The ceilings in our new house are 12 feet high.  This one is perfect.”

I glanced back.  In the light streaming from the street lamp beyond, he and the tree had fused into one eery creature.

A man and his Christmas tree“Sweetheart, it’s too big,”  I said, hopefully.  ”Let’s look at these 8-foot ones.  They’re perfect.”

He was shaken a bit but still — he would not be the master of an unworthy 8-foot tree.

“Excuse me, sir,” Gabe said to the manager of the lot.  ”Do you have any 9-foot trees?”

“Why, yessir, right back here.”

He led us to the back of the lot and waved his hand over a pile of trees, branches still bound in netting.

Gabe stood one up and appraised it.  ”What about this one?”

“Well,” I said, “it MIGHT be lovely but it’s impossible for me to tell.  It’s still got the netting on it and even if he cut if off, the limbs wouldn’t have fallen out yet so I can’t tell if it has any holes.”

“What holes?”

“Holes, like gaps in the branches.  Oh never mind.  Just trust me — I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

Forgotten, the children chased each other around a nearby tree.

young kids choosing a christmas treeGabe dropped the 9-footer, put his hands on his hips.

“Well, what do I know, with all my Jewish tree-buying experience?  I guess since you’re Christian, we should just get the tree you pick out and be done with this.”

“Gah, whatever!  Just get this one!”  I threw my hands up, and as is my nature, began to walk away.

And then a voice interrupted us.

“Guys!  Mommy’s fussing at daddy.  Daddy’s fussing at mommy.  Everybody stop fussing and let’s get a Christmas tree,” said Asher, 6.

Our eyes met, Gabe’s and mine, and there was momentary shame in them, and then mirth.  How silly we were being.

When we decided to get married all those years ago, we knew there’d be many compromises to make along the way.  We also trusted ourselves, and the family we’d become, to make them never SEEM like compromises.  And this is why we celebrate the long season of Chrismukkah — really less a blended holiday for us than a celebration of both.  Instead of laying a path out for our children (that they won’t take anyway), we’ve pledged to show them both paths – and even other paths – and let them choose their ways.

Asher, Meyer and I convened in the grove of 8-foot trees and decided to surprise Gabe with the one he wanted.  The ceilings in our new house are very high, maybe we could make it work.

The monster came home with us.  Just getting it into the house was a Goliath struggle.  With our sap-covered hands, we slowly pushed the tree to its full height and stepped back.  Several inches at the top bent sideways against the ceiling.

I looked at Gabe, struggling to keep Mrs. Judgy McJudgerson inside her cage.  He offered me a dramatic bow of the head and slump of the shoulders.

Just then a knock on the front door signaled the arrival of Asher’s playdate from his new school.  I dashed for the bedroom in pajamas and unwashed hair while Gabe, eager to meet potential new friends, answered the door.  I heard stomping as the boys ran down the hallway towards the playroom and then in muffled tones through the bedroom door, Gabe’s eager, polite chat with the boy’s mom and dad.  Then…a loud thud.

Christmas tree fell down, Chrismukkah, I told you so“Oops,” Gabe said, a little embarrassed.  ”Guess I need to go take care of that.”

We met in the living room over the felled tree, a perfume of frasier fir and humility in the air.

“Honey, it’s time,” I said.  And we shook our heads in the same manner, but with different meanings.

Gabe dialed the tree lot.

“Hi, I was there last night and I wanted the big tree and my wife said it was too big and…”  Quiet on his end of the line.  ”Yep, she was right.”  Silence.  ”It broke the tree stand.”  A lull.  ”Thank you.  I’ll bring it back now.”

The 10-foot tree went back and an 8-foot tree took its place.  It’s a beautiful tree and Gabe is fond of working late at night in the living room with the twinkling of its lights lending a calming atmosphere to his late hours.

I don’t say “I told you so.”  I just laugh.  And so does he.  We’ve found that the most important thing in our marriage  – maybe any marriage — is a healthy dose of humor.  Even if it sometimes takes a child to remind us.

 

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The 12 Days of Chrismukkah (Sing-along!)

The 12 Days of Chrismukkah song

My husband is Jewish and I’m Christian.  We’ve been married for 8 years so we’ve figured out a way to make the holidays work for us.  We celebrate Chrismukkah.  And here for you, whether you’re an interfaith couple or not, is our very special holiday song — The 12 Days of Chrismukkah.  It’s best sung while wearing a yarmulke or a funny elf hat and while very, very drunk.  Watch it!  You’ll laugh, I promise.  And you’ll walk away with an understanding of our relationship I could never give you with words.

Merry Chrismukkah from our house to yours!

The 12 Days Of Chrismukkah

On the 1st day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 2nd day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 3rd day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

3 pumpkin latkes (not LATTES!), 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 4th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

4  bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 5th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 6th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

6 orders of Lo Mein, 5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 7th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mein, 5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 8th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

8 candy cane Hanukkah candles, 7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mien, 5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 9th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

9 oy to the worlds, 8 candy cane Hannukah candles, 7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mien, 5 golden coins (I said GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 10th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

10 Chrismukkah menorahments™ (you made that word up — no, I didn’t), 9 oy to the worlds, 8 candy cane Hannukah candles, 7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mien, 5 golden coins (gelt), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 11th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

11 iced Hannucookies (What’s a Hannucookie?), 10 Chrismukkah menorahments™ (You made that word up — no, I didn’t), 9 oy to the worlds, 8 candy cane Hannukah candles, 7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mien, 5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

On the 12th day of Chrismukkah, my true love gave to me

12 Merry Mazel Tovs, 11 iced Hannucookies (What’s a hannucookie?), 10 Chrismukkah menorahments™ (You made that word up — no, I didn’t), 9 oy to the worlds, 8 candy cane Hannukah candles, 7 Elvises singing Blue Christmas, 6 orders of Lo Mien, 5 golden coins (GELT!!!), 4 bagels and a schmear, 3 pumpkin latkes, 2 dreidels spinning and a Hannukah bush and a Christmas tree.

Read more Chrismukkah posts here.  And here.  And here.

*This vlog was created last Chrismukkah (2012) but since my readers have grown by at least 3 over the last year, I really wanted to share it again.  ; )

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Holiday Wrapping (up)

I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy today.  Looks like your (sometimes) weekly newsletter will be short on the snark.

Never fear.  My snark well runs deep and strong.  It’ll be back, probably by the end of this update.

A vlog of an interfaith couple singing the 12 days of chrismukkah

The 12 Days of Chrismukkah

Last week, I got my husband tipsy and talked him into doing this:  The 12 Days of Chrismukkah and my 1st vlog.  If you like pumpkin latkes, menorahments and hannucookies, or if you have no idea what those things are (because I made them up), or if you just like to laugh at people who either sing badly or reluctantly, check it out.  Who doesn’t wanna spend 2 minutes laughing at a person in a yarmulke and another in a ridiculous elf hat totally effing up The 12 Days of Christmas song?

little girl covered in flour after baking cookies @toulouseNtonic #bakingcookiesOne of my favorite posts about vaginas (is it weird that my blog has enough posts about vaginas that I can say that?) was featured on BONBON Break last week.  If you haven’t joined Bonbon Break, I highly recommend.  Kathy and Val are the nicest gals going, and every day they offer you a lovely chocolate-coated bite of the best things going on in the blogging world.  Subscribe at www.bonbonbreak.com, like their facebook page and follow Bonbon Break on twitter.

One invigorating move in the Momsanity workout.

One invigorating move in the Momsanity workout.

Also last week on Bonbon Break, amazing mom blogger Keesha of Mom’s New Stage offered a great (and funny) new way to work off those holiday pounds with her MOMSANITY workout.  She was masochistic kind enough to allow me to illustrate one of the moves.  After you eat these scrumptious vulva candies, get in a Momsanity workout and you’ll magically fit into those pajama jeans without an 80s-style deep-knee-bending and muffin-top-squooshing-down struggle.

This week…  I have to stop and take a sip of mimosa and watch the sugar plums dancing in my head.  Oh what a week.  This is gonna sound totally like humblebragging but I just can’t help myself.  I’m so excited and grateful about reaching some milestones I never in a million years thought I would reach.

With the generous help of some blogger friends, not only did I break my all-time hit record in a day but doubled it on Wednesday.  And even on Thursday, as things wound down, there were still more pageviews than my previous record.

How did this happen?

pacifierI guest-posted on Mommy Shorts with an article about the Top 10 (hilarious) differences between parenting your first child and parenting your second.  Mommy Shorts reported over 1000 facebook likes on the post (I asked her if she’d added a zero or two) and some of her readers made their own funny contributions.  Check ‘em out on the Mommy Shorts facebook page.  And thank you, Ilana, for lending me the Mommy Shorts power for a couple of days.  It was fun.  Really, really fun.

MotherhoodWTFThen, ON THE SAME BLESSED DAY, a blogger I’ve stalked since before I started my own blog featured one of my posts.  I’ll just say first that her blog is called MotherhoodWTF and from the first moment I visited, I was hooked.  Allison says all the stuff about mothering you wish you could say.  Profanely.  And intelligently.  Is she profanely intelligent?  Or Intelligently profane?  Who cares?  It’s all the same to me and I love it.  You will too if you have a sense of humor about parenting.  And you must, or you wouldn’t be here.

sweet potato latkes with bacon turn into hash browns

Sweet Potato Latke Notkes. Add bacon to make them even more of a Chrismukkah disaster.

And in the perfect blogging storm of Wednesday, I was also featured on CraftFail again. Yes, again.  This time with my disaster-of-a-shiksa-bride sweet potato latkes.  If I wasn’t so stubborn, I’d stop trying with the freaking crafts.  But I never learn.  Ask anyone.

And then last night, I reached 1000 twitter followers.  Happy sigh.

christmas decorations hannukah decorations garland ornaments snowmen tinselI also posted this silly little thing full of stories about pets pooping out holiday decorations.  Or more accurately, TRYING to poop out holiday decorations.

Hold on, let me check the snark well.  Nope, all dry.

Thank you so much for your support.  This blog gives me a lot of happiness these days.  I’ve been writing it for 2 years or more, but there’s something about it these last few months…I’m guessing the difference is you.

Here is my simple advice to you as we head into the final days before Christmas.  1.  Do NOT go to the mall.  2.  Tipple.  Tipple hard.

Happy holidays.

Toulouse

Awesome things I read this week:

The ABCs of Raising Boys

Jesus Crashed My Birthday Party

Elf Shaming

 

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The Best And Worst Thing About Chrismukkah (and win a FURBY!)

The best thing about Chrismukkah and the worst thing about Chrismukkah?

One word.  Two perspectives.

Kid:  The best thing about Chrismukkah is the presents.  So many presents!

Parent:  The worst thing about Chrismukkah is the presents.  So many presents!

This is one aspect of combining Christmas and Hannukah that we haven’t figured out how to manage in a reasonable way.

Between 2 kids, 8 nights of Hannukah AND Christmas morning, I’m going bananas trying to keep up with the demand and our credit card is smoking.

No matter how long or short your holiday celebration is, I bet you’re overwhelmed with gift-buying too.

So let me help a little.

Today, I’m giving away a cute white Furby courtesy of CentslessDeals.com.  Wouldn’t this little guy look just adorbs in the arms of a kid you love?

furby

This little cutie retails for $59.99 but one winner will walk away with him/her/it for free.  A winner will be chosen by random drawing on Sunday and Centsless Deals will ship to the prizewinner on Monday so you’ll have your new pet in time for Christmas. Entries open to citizens of the US only.

To enter, just click on the rafflecopter the form below.  Entries close at midnight on December 16 and the winner will be contacted by email.  Don’t worry, your info won’t be shared with anyone.

For more chances to win a furby or a figit, visit There’s More Where That Came From and Four Plus An Angel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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