This year, Hanukkah overlapped with Christmas, making the holiday festivities easy for this Shiksa Jew. I invited 25 people round on the 24th for a mixed feast of brisket, latkes and apple sauce juxtaposed with roast turkey, stuffing, multi-coloured carrots (so beautiful!), and lots more. Wanting to incorporate my British heritage, we kicked off the night with mulled wine and winded down with my mother’s world famous English trifle.
But of course, no matter how well one plans a party, there’s always the unexpected. Such as the kitchen faucet breaking off in my hand the day before and water spurting everywhere. At first I became depressed at the thought of having no dishwasher for the clean up. Then I became despondent when I realized that I might not even have running water to hand wash the dishes. Stress levels rose until, at the 11th hour (literally 11am on the Saturday), a new faucet was installed (thanks to my contractor-friend), and I was able to forge forward with the preparations.
Emma and I baked gingerbread men (people?) and, being my daughter, she made a list of the various characters she planned to create including four Jews, three nerds, a grandma and a grandpa, and a partridge in a pear tree (sic).
I was on the gingerbread list as well and even though I ended up looking like a lesbian high school gymteacher in a shapeless t-shirt and shorts (that’s me to the right of grandpa and grandma below), I am choosing to focus on the fact that my daughter might believe that I could be sporty (remember, my son once asked me if I knew how to run…)
The kids stood round as the menorah candles were lit and then ran upstairs with their Christmas crackers. People mingled with new and familiar faces and I tried not to panic when it came back to me that my mother was overheard saying to Chris, my new friend from England, “You must be making very good money to have lived in Chelsea.”
Chris later told me that my mother also asked him “So, how do you like my daughter’s cooking? (insert cringe here).
Oh yes, and before people started arriving, Samuel found the list that Emma had made for her gingerbread people and looked at me in disbelief.
“IS THIS YOUR GUEST LIST?” he asked seriously, his tone underlying my perceived lack of political correctness.
After I finished laughing and explaining, it occurred to me that it could have been.