It is almost Christmas Eve. Almost Christmas Day.
The city is festooned with decorations and lights. The stores are filled with bustling crowds doing last-minute shopping. The liquor stores and supermarkets are overflowing with harried customers who consult their lists in hand.
The holiday music has been "adorning" the airwaves for close to one month. Normally I don't mind the music and have my own "favorites"...but this year I just seemed to be more aware of it...and actually tired of the music, and of those normally middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary stations who have now been playing Xmas music, 24/7 for several weeks. How many versions of "Ava Maria" are there? How many Jewish composers and singers have been making a mint off these holiday songs?
What is the stereotype activity for Jews to do on Xmas Eve or Xmas Day?
I think that going out for Chinese food has always seemed to top the list. Where and when did that originate, I wonder?
Then, for Jewish singles, there are always singles dances and parties held on those famous dates. Or open house parties for which the whispered address spreads like wildfire.
There are movies to be seen...but don't make the mistake of trying to see a late show, because there usually aren't any on those two dates.
There is the "Let's rent a movie and order in pizza" option.
There is the "Let's go ice skating" (lucky if a public rink is open) option.
Of course, there are the MIAMI BEACH/CARIBBEAN CRUISE/MEXICO/ISRAEL/NEW YORK CITY options for those who can afford to take the time and money to do those things.
But for people like us, there is a new option; the replacement for the Chinese food/movie/singles dance/house party/video/skating/big travel plans ( "I think not!") is.......
....travelling to Niagara Falls to go for a night or two to the hotels that offer a waterpark package for families. It's rather reasonable, certainly fun, less than a 2-hour drive from Toronto, bordering the U.S. border (just in case we want to head to Buffalo and vicinity to do some power shopping. We have a pretty good and strong dollar these days).
We took this trip a couple years ago, thought it to be great fun. Apparently, many others have discovered this quick getaway too, because we know several families (10 young families from one neighborhood congregation booked off 10 rooms at one resort hotel) who are marking Niagara Falls on the GPS and are heading there tomorrow and on Monday.
If we're driving on the highway tomorrow, I'm pretty sure that I'll look over at a couple other vehicles and will know someone in them or will see a few "kippa people" heading in the same direction.
So contrary to this YouTube link that I will leave you with, I think that there is something "for a Jew to do."