Santa Comes to Jewish Christmas by Clarinda Harriss
December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ho, ho, ho! And the winning entries continue in the Brevity‘s Holiday Smile contest:
Ca. 1970: Christmas Eve, Piccadilly Road, the children were all nestled on the floor in front of the faulty but cheerful fireplace, stringing cranberries to hang on the blue spruce outside. The children include the Levys, Jocelyn and Andres, mere babes, along with the Lotts, Lisa and Andy, slightly older son and daughter of Lott’s wife. It is the Lott family’s annual celebration of Jewish Christmas; a chance for a few close Jewish friends to enjoy a Christmas tree without actually having to have one cluttering their house.
A knock on the door: in the vestibule, a portly, be-tweeded gentleman with copious white curls under his tweed cap and a long, fluffy white beard. And yes, a rosy face and twinkling eyes. He was lost, he said, looking for a party on Eton Road. (The ‘hood was a warren of streets with fake British names.) But he would accept the proferred cup of eggnog. He got right down on the rug with the kids and strung cranberries for two-cups-full.
Before he was well into his first cup, he said in an offhand way, “I think I should mention that the ivy on your chimney is beginning to smolder.”
Pretty soon some nice firemen arrived in a shiny red truck , greeted us merrily, and hosed down the ivy.
The children were, by now, agog. As were we all.
When White-Beard bade us goodnight and set out for his party, the Levy mama said, “I’m converting. NOW.” But we explained you didn’t have to be Christian to believe in Santa Claus. All you had to do was have him rescue you and drink eggnog with you on Christmas Eve.
Clarinda Harriss is a professor emerita of English at Towson University. Her published books include two academic works, seven collections of poetry, and, recently a short story collection as well as a co-authored anthology of erotic sonnets. She continues to direct BrickHouse Books, Inc., and to work with prison writers.
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