Husband and I do not yet have children, but are quickly approaching a time when we expect to expand our family. I may be in the minority of Southern Jews in that I don’t feel the pressure of “The December Dilemma,” that is how do we as (future) Jewish parents explain to our (future) children the value of Hanukkah in the midst of the heavy cultural influences of Christmas. How to be Jewish in a month filled with Christmas carols, Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, and – in our house and I suspect many of your households – Christmas Chinese Food, feels intuitive to me after so many years of celebrating this way. However, Easter presents quite a different dilemma for this Jewish household. Allow me to introduce you to the two reasons why:
Meet Sally and Linus, our two beloved rabbits. The tan lop-eared bunny who – I’m just guessing – is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, is Sally. The brown and white bunny is Linus, the sweetest and most timid soul you’ll ever know.
Poor grammar aside, our home abides by this belief:
Our rabbits are in many ways the sunshine of our lives, hence the nickname Bunshine (and if you think that’s the only rabbit-related pun I have up my sleeve, stick around this blog awhile because you’re in for some good ones). Sally and Linus are house rabbits who roam the house freely, but prefer to stay on carpet. The house we are currently renting has all hardwood floors, so they are bound to one room by their own choosing. Nonetheless, the house still runs around them. I could go on (and on and on), but I think you’ve got the idea.
So please tell me how I will explain to my future-children that an Easter Bunny is visiting the homes of their Christian friends, but not our home? How will I drag my children away from the display of rabbit paraphernalia in Target, while explaining that the rabbit candy, rabbit decor, and rabbit toys are meant for other children and not for “us?” How could I stop myself from buy my children a card that reads, “Happy Bunny Day?” Rabbits are at the literal and theoretical center of our home for 355 days of the year, so how do we justify to our children that rabbits are verboten on this one day of the year – on Bunny Day, no less!
And let’s be clear, rabbits have nothing to do with Jesus.
Of course, fir trees don’t have anything to do with Jesus either, but my husband and I have made the choice not to bring one into our home in December. For us, the lines are clearly drawn where the December holidays are concerned. But while we don’t feel the need for a Hanukkah Bush, our home will surely receive an annual visit from the Passover Bunny.
None of this is to take away from the spiritual significance of Easter to Christians. To those who celebrate, I wish you all a very Happy Easter! To those who celebrate Easter AND those who don’t, I wish you all a very Happy Bunny Day!