Chanukah When I was at school a number of my friends didn't celebrate Christmas -- they were Muslim or Jehovah's Witnesses or Jewish. December must have been really difficult for them, especially around here. And every year without fail I would give them a Christmas card. I think now they understood, and I understood that I wasn't doing it out of an expectation of anything in return, it about saying you're just as important to me as all my 'Christian' friends at this time of year. Eventually it did become difficult, so I just told them I would have got them a card, and had thought of them, and that was enough.

Looking back now I'm amazed at how gracious they were about it, especially considering how precious they were about their own religion, and the upholding of theireliefs were to them. I suppose part of me wondered if they were actually like Derek Powazek ...
"Growing up as one of a few Jews in our little town made December a month of hell for me. Oh sure, I got my presents, too. For Chanukah. But I also got back in touch with my outsider status. Every store downtown, every song on the radio, everywhere I looked I had yet another reminder that I was not a part of the majority. And every year in school I got to give a little presentation to the class about Chanukah.

"Class, this is Derek. He's not like you and me. He celebrates Chan ... Chan.... How do you say it again, Derek?"

I still remember being about 5 years old and not understanding why we didn't have a Christmas tree. My mother tried to explain it to me, but I wouldn't listen. I wanted to be like all my friends.
It's difficult to think of my life without Christmas. See above.

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