This afternoon at the pediatrician’s office, the nurse taking The Who’s vitals (tiny blood pressure cuff FTW!) asked him if he had made his Christmas list yet. The Who paused and with a sort of quizzical expression, said, “no.” I didn’t intervene, waiting to see where he would take this. She continued: “When are you gonna make it?” Again, he paused. “I don’t know,” he said. And then she asked, “What’s the first thing on your list gonna be?” Finally, he said, “Well, I’m Jewish.” And her reply, like the replies of the many other people who have learned that we don’t celebrate Christmas after asking us all about it, was, “Oh! That’s cool!” And then, “It took you a long time to say that!” And what was funny to me is that I thought it took him no time at all. For a five-year-old in a Christmas-obsessed culture being asked about Santa and presents. I thought two minutes at most for him to say, with self-possession, “I’m Jewish,” was no time at all.
I’m surprised — and frankly annoyed — by the Christmas assumption. It’s 2013. It’s the goddamn middle of Hanukkah. It’s the east coast (ish. I have a hard time calling a landlocked state part of the coast.) Please don’t misunderstand; I don’t begrudge people their Christmas. And I understand that the nurse had no ill will and was just making small talk with a kid in December. But I really would think (hope?) that people would be done assuming that everyone celebrates his or her winter holiday by making lists for Santa.
And, since we’re ranting about cultural impropriety, I saw a photo on Facebook today of The Who’s preschool class at their Thanksgiving Feast (which The Who missed this year due to travel) and each kid was wearing a “classic” brown construction paper headband with orange and red construction paper feathers. Seriously. Again, please don’t misunderstand; I don’t begrudge people their Thanksgiving. I participated in the 30 days of gratitude and I used this holiday as an excuse to get together with my family and eat lots of turkey. And no, not one person (myself included) discussed the travesty that Thanksgiving actually is when we were going around the room saying what we were thankful for. But none of us went as far as to co-opt the native headdress and wear it while celebrating a holiday that marks a time when white people committed genocide on an entire people.
And, so again, I am surprised — and frankly pissed — that in 2013 this is still going on in what I consider to be a fairly progressive and culturally sensitive preschool.
Society’s disappointing me this week, man. It’s a real bummer.