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Idealized American image of Christmas leaves many outside looking in

Home/About Pat/Idealized American image of Christmas leaves many outside looking in

Idealized American image of Christmas leaves many outside looking in

Yesterday I received a small package in the mail.  It was from my new friends at Cure Talk.  They’re the ones who produce our monthly Myeloma Cure Panel broadcasts.  I wrote about that yesterday.

I have never asked, but based on their names, pictures and accents, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say the compay is run by people of Asian Indian decent.

Inside the package was something called Soan Papdi.  Never heard of it, never tried it.  Apparently these small, powdered sugar covered squares are a classic Indian treat.  Very sweet yet peppery, with a texture I had never experienced before.  I enjoyed sampling something new.

This gift caused me to reflect on our now mostly American Christmas holiday.  Mostly American?  YES!  (Santa and his reindeer, crass commercialism, homes decked out in tacky LED lights.  How else would you describe it?  I think there may be one nativity scene in our entire 300 home subdivision)

Of course, there are probably quite a few Jews living in my Gulf Coast of Florida neighborhood.  Jewish families that have probably adjusted to being left on the outside looking in.  It all makes me painfully aware of how insensitive many Christian Americans can be.

I’m not going to get off-track and try and define “Christian.”  Lets accept it in it’s broadest form:  Anyone who believes that believes Jesus Christ was the son of God, including Mormons and a number of grey area sects.

Man, this can get complicated.  And that’s my point.  In an effort to make things simple and comfortable for the majority of us, we have excluded more of our American brothers and sisters than we can count.

But it all goes far deeper than that.

What about those of us that are emotionally conflicted–or even depressed by this holiday?  Those who have recently lost loved-ones.  Our new, dear friends who lost someone they knew or loved in Connecticut recently are perfect examples.

Or what about those of us living with multiple myeloma?

I’m not sure if my contact at Cure Talk, Pryia, is Christian or not.  But I applaud her and others there for assimilating our customs and holiday, while going out of their way to share a bit of their own.

As it should be!  I’m hooked on often poorly produced, tacky and sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel and–believe it or not–two or more other channels that run Christmas movies 24/7 on cable.  Memories of a not-so-perfect childhood, glossed-over to focus on the one part that was: Christmas.

My mother adored Christmas.  And it was a magical time for me.  As strange as it sounds, she didn’t drink as much over the holidays.  My father (a hard working, young attorney) took a few extra days off then, too.  So when I see the idealized, happy-ever-after story lines that dominate these made-for-TV films, I reflect fondly back to my childhood; conveniently forgetting that my mother was a mean drunk and died when she was  my age of lung cancer.


I may be have become oblivious to all of that.  But I’m painfully aware of the alienation and confusion that must be felt by children–heck, adults, too–that don’t fit into a cookie-cutter shaped Christian and Santa Clause dominated hole.

One of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live animated shorts features Darlene Love singing “Christmas time for the Jews.”  Love it!  The part about a Rabi circumcising squirrels in Central Park is amazing!  If you look closely, you can see the little crossed bandages placed carefully over their little squirrel nuts.  HA!

Kidding aside, I have yet to see a single Jewish holiday film on ABC Family, have you?  And what about Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists?  If this is truly an American holiday, let’s include them!  It doesn’t matter that their religions/philosophies don’t include Christmas–many of us are celebrating a secular holiday, not a religious one.

I’m biased, but while we’re at it, let’s include the emotionally and mentally troubled.  I think that cancer and Christmas aren’t mutually exclusive.  I recently cried my way through a well made Hallmark film about a teenage boy who needs a heart transplant.  Close enough.

I’ll try and tie all of this together in a bright red Christmas bow tomorrow.  I’ll be positive and hopeful.  Promise!

Want a raw, cutting edge view from a breast cancer survivor that steadfastly argues that “cancer is not a gift,” before switching over to a more traditional, jolly seasonal mode?  CLICK HERE.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat