Christian guys are the best to date — during Christmas, that is.
Up until I was six years old, my family celebrated Christmas. Although both of my parents are Jewish, our family wasn't particularly religious. They just thought Christmas was a fun holiday for kids. I still fondly remember my Miss Piggy star ornament sparkling atop the tree. Ahh, memories.
In 1984, we moved to a new town in a new state and joined a synagogue. As December rolled around, there was no tree, just a menorah in the kitchen and a pile of Hanukkah presents in the corner of the living room.
Don't get me wrong: The latkes were tasty, the gifts were just as good ... but I missed believing in Santa Claus. Had he and Rudolph abandoned me forever? While I still joined in the secular festivities at school (singing carols at holiday concerts, making wreaths, Secret Santa games), December 24th and 25th were inevitably a letdown.
Fast forward ten years. In high school, I began dating a Catholic boy, and like a holiday miracle, Christmas returned! Not only did I eat a delicious meal and exchange gifts with his family, but I was even allowed to sleep over on Christmas Eve. I was a jolly, happy soul once more ... until we broke up and I had to find a new Christian boyfriend to spend the holidays with.
On the occasions that I didn't have a boyfriend during "the season," I was the sad orphan Jew invited to one of my friend's family functions, like Midnight Mass. Or I'd just go out for the Chinese-meal-and-a-movie combo with my own family. Kind of depressing.
Despite my longing to reclaim Christmas, I always hoped to settle down with a nice Jewish boy. The problem was, there weren't many to go around in my New England town. Sure, I met a few more hotties at summer camp, but they didn't live within a 50-mile radius most of the year.
Although my parents and I not-so-secretly hoped I'd end up with a member of my own tribe, I enjoyed the romantic company of numerous blond-haired, blue-eyed "goyfriends." Sometimes I knew they were temporary fixes, but more often I envisioned a future where my would-be husband converted to Judaism and our kids all had bar or bat mitzvahs.
The compromise, of course, would be that our multi-culti family could still celebrate Christmas. Inner conflict resolved; reindeer games reinstated.
Over the years, I dated at least five more Christian guys, always hoping these relationships would last, at least through the holidays. My parents divorced when I was a sophomore in high school.
The breakdown of our family holiday traditions were further broken down by dual households and brothers who were away at college, or spending time with their significant others' families instead of dealing with the intricacies and divided loyalties of our own. It was merely simpler to celebrate Christmas with other folks versus Hanukkah with our own.
My oldest brother dated a non-Jewish girl for over five years before figuring out the "religious differences" and eventually getting married. Another friend of mine dated her boyfriend for nearly twelve years until they worked it out, and he finally proposed.
The fact is, relationships flow more smoothly when two people have a religion, ethnic background, and family values in common. Personally speaking, marrying a man with the same belief system has a lot to do with Jewish history.
For centuries, Jews have been persecuted, culminating in the six million lives lost during the holocaust. I can't deny the feeling that it's my inner duty to help repopulate my people. Chosen ones or not, my kids will celebrate Hanukkah (and Passover and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), and that's final.
Well, not exactly.
Two and a half years ago, I met the perfect match: My boyfriend Dave has a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, but he was raised a Jew — bar mitzvah and everything. Their family has always celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas (and Easter). Not only that, he also happens to be tall, blond and blue/green-eyed.
We've spent the past two years celebrating Christmas with his parents and extended family in New Jersey. This year we have plans to attend a Hanukkah party with close family friends, a Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Fishes" Italian dinner with Dave's sister-in-law's family, and finally, a Christmas Day meal at his aunt and uncle's house. We'll also drive up to Connecticut for a few days of Hanukkah gift-giving with my family.
Dave's religious and holiday tendencies aren't the only reasons I love him, of course, but surely they're a component of our compatibility.