What Happened to Christmas?

When an old Jewish lady comments that it doesn't feel or look like Christmas then you know there must be some truth to the observation. Since my second husband is a Christian, we came up with a non-religious tradition that we both enjoy. We get in the car and ride around looking at the Christmas lights and decorations. Then home for some hot chocolate. When we first came to South Florida in 2000 every neighborhood was a virtual wonderland of lights. Christmas in the tropics became a beautiful display of lights instead of a blanket of snow. One felt Christmas in the air.
Not now. The other night we drove around and got excited if we saw a house lit up. Then we noticed something else. We drove through two different towns and noticed there were no town decorations. Not one.
Hollywood, Florida has a park that taxpayers spent more than twenty million dollars to upgrade- but not one Christmas light was displayed. For an American Jew , who remembers school and church choirs singing at the malls, this is very sad. As a little girl I used to hate Christmas time because I couldn't participate, so one would think that I'd be glad that the signs of Christmas disappeared. No one was more surprised than I when I realized how terrible this was. I'd always loved the carols and seeing the beautifully decorated trees at the homes of friends and now there was none.
It was always very apparent to this Jew, that even though Christmas was a religious holiday, it was also American. The beautiful lights that lit up the darkness, and choirs in public places like the mall or town center singing the familiar Christmas carols, was a moment of " peace on earth goodwill to men." that reminded us who we were. Hearing the sounds of Christmas while running around the mall to finish shoppimng, was part of America. Taking the kids to sit on Santa's lap was tradition. What happened?
I remember when a creche was set up yearly outside the post office in the small town where we lived. No one went to the ACLU. Everyone assumed that was part of the Christmas landscape. But somehow and for some specious reason we no longer have public displays of this joyous holiday. Driving the dark streets of South Florida I commented to my husband that this must be what Christmas in a Communist country is like. He didn't disagree and said we'd better have our hot chocolate before that disappears too.

About Pamela

I have been around the block more than a few times and I see the streets getting dirtier and dirtier. I left the country in 1973 and moved to Israel. There, I became a founding settler of Yamit, and became a victim of the first catastrophic mistake of swapping land for "peace.

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