However, I will not be missing Christmas. This is partly because Christmas is not the sort of thing a sentient person can miss. And partly because I am extending the term to include the obligation to bestow Hanukkah presents on my parents, which they recently informed me will not be waived or postponed for any reason, including work obligations. So at some point between now and whenever Hanukkah starts (early December?) I must find acceptable gifts for the two of them, by which I mean appropriately priced gifts that they will like (or, better yet, approve of) and that can be transported through the mail without loss of integrity. This is frustrating as I have pretty much exhausted the things I can think of to give them, and they don't really seem to be developing new areas of interest. But I also know there are certain things I can resort to that they won't love but that will be acceptable, i.e. smelly bath products for my mother, nonfiction books for my father. These are the analog of the Macy's gift card they gave me for my birthday that I haven't used yet... it is not a bad gift, and at some point I will get something I would have gotten anyway but it won't cost me anything, so I am pleased to have it, but it is not the kind of thing that makes one light up with joy. Which in some ways is sadder than no gift at all, because gifts should make one light up with joy.
(huh... just titled this post, and it sort of hit home that... it's the holiday season??!!)
The question I am more concerned with is my brother's girlfriend. My mother is giving her a Hanukkah present (despite the fact she is not Jewish) and also a birthday present. I don't feel that I need to give her a birthday present, as I have not officially been informed of her having a birthday. But I should give her a Hanukkah present, right? If my mother is going to? But then, what? I like her, but I don't know her all that well. She's very sweet, but fairly ungirly; I don't think she would care much for scented bath products. I could give her a book, maybe, about... um. Anything to do with art is out of the question because she's more or less a professional photographer and I'm sure I have no taste. Hopefully my brother will have a Hanukkah gathering (it's pretty sad; my mother has basically put him in charge of making sure I have some sort of religious / familiar existence and/or eat a home-cooked food every couple months) and then I will just bring the two of them a really nice host gift; my brother isn't big on presents anyway. Or maybe *I* will have the gathering.
YES!!! I will have a Hanukkah party! My apartment is teensy, but it is laid out well (by which I mean there is a loft to hide things in, and the rest is a featureless rectangle); I can get 12-16 people in here if some are standing or sitting on the floor. I will invite my brother and his girlfriend, and a couple friends from my old job, and a couple friends from my new job, and my book club, and a few other people I know in the city. I will get my mother's sugar cookie recipe, and I will make Megan's macaroni and cheese (with my apple-walnut variation). It will not be a dinner party, per se, b/c there is no dining room table, but there will be dinner, b/c I haven't made the macaroni and cheese in ages (I can't readily make it just for myself, as I can't freeze leftovers). I will light the menorah! We will play dreidel! It will be excellent! I must go and plan it right now!