Posted in Miscellany

TV Christmas

I grew up in the golden ghetto, a neighbourhood surrounded on 3 sides by railroad tracks, an irony that I was aware of even as a kid, given that this neighbourhood was almost entirely Jewish with a significant sprinkling of holocaust survivors. Even so I missed Christmas.

None of my friends celebrated Christmas. There weren’t any Hanukah bushes, nobody got piles of presents. But that wasn’t what I missed. There was something in the air that I could feel even down in my suburban Jewish neighbourhood, an excited preparation that I wasn’t a part of, all headed toward a single night of jubilation.

I was glued to the tube. We only got 2 English channels, CBC and CTV, and most of the year programming consisted of fishing, hockey, the Pig and Whistle, and soaps. But at Christmas, I saw A Christmas Carol (the Alistair Sims one), It’s a Wonderful Life (my favourite), Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas.

Generosity fought with greed and won. Hope won over cynicism. Love won over money. An angel got his wings. That was what I yearned for, that was what I missed and what I thought people who celebrated Christmas enjoyed.

Yesterday I was at a neighbourhood party. It was a lovely time and I had such pleasure playing with my neighbour’s one year old that I dreamed about him last night. But this is what struck me: how many people were not looking forward to today. How many had obligations to family members who had no understanding for the difficulties that they were imposing. Demands are at their peak, sympathy at a low. If only everyone could just stop, and look at each other, and hold hands like the people of Whoville.

So I want to take this moment to remember my childhood vision, to touch the light, and carry that with me later today as we head off to my in-laws for Christmas.

Wishing you all the joy of lengthening days.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

5 thoughts on “TV Christmas

  1. I’ve been a lot happier about Christmas since I scaled back on my expectations. I just hope for a quiet day with the people I love best. Nothing fancy is necessary 🙂

    I hope your day is like that, too.

  2. I’m far more interested in having a nice day surrounded by family, than in anything with high expectations attached. We always have a lovely, but low-key, celebration… and I only decided what I was making for Christmas lunch at 11.30am 🙂

  3. Christmas is tough for a lot of people. If you have huge amounts of preparation for one day, they inevitably bring about huge expectations. Plus all that enforced togetherness and jollity… it’s part of the madness of the modern world that we think we can manufacture happiness and harmony, when they are little banal miracles that lie beyond our control. Sometimes they occur, but rarely through our own interventions.

  4. I loved this Lilian.Thank you. I live in La-la land whoville a lot because this is the way I know best to keep the light shining in world that largely makes no sense to me. Funny that I have hope and faith — not in the baby Jesus, but the stories. THE Stories– like Web of Angels ! I think these days I still hope because of brave stories and music and the love of a good man.

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