Palley’s mother converted to Judaism, her father’s religion, though she noted he grew up with a Christmas tree, too. Christmas “was just a nice family holiday,” to Palley, which she said never interfered with her identity as a Jew.
“I associate it almost as Thanksgiving,” she said. “It’s another holiday where my family is together. We have good food and spend good time together. I never felt guilty because it was never religious at all…. I actually go to Rosh Hashanah services and Yom Kippur services. I believe in that religiously. That’s what I’m focusing on 99 percent of the year as opposed to this one holiday.”
In fact, Palley described Christmas as seeming more like an “American holiday” because “it’s everywhere; you have school off; you have the commercials. It just felt normal.”
“For me, Christmas is about pure hedonism, which is something I can always get on board with,” Eleanor Margolis, a London writer at the New Statesman (and the columnist behind “Lez Miserables”), told The Daily Beast in an email. “It’s nothing to do with religion, or ‘hope’; it’s mostly just an excuse to stuff my face with my mum’s roast potatoes.”