One Perfect Christmas

Rose Bak
4 min readDec 25, 2019

The Year Jewish Christmas Finally Gave Me the Holiday I Always Wanted

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

I’ve never been big on holidays, especially Christmas. Too much drama, too many expectations, too much disappointment. But once in my life, many years ago, I had the perfect Christmas, without doing Christmas at all.

“What are you doing for Christmas?” my friend Iron Man asked me earlier in the week.

“Nothing.” I answered. “No one’s around this year.” I didn’t have to tell him that I was perfectly OK with that, because he knows me. He knows I’m fine doing nothing, much more than getting stuck doing something I don’t want to do, like be the pity invite at someone’s family holiday dinner.

“Let’s do Jewish Christmas,” he suggested. “We’ll go for a run, then get Chinese food, totally low key.”

Neither of us had family around that year that we wanted to spend time with, neither of us were dating anyone so there were no obligations there, and it was his ex’s turn to have their kids for the holiday.

Completely on our own, with no one to worry about besides ourselves, and no expectations for some Hallmark family Christmas, we could do whatever we wanted. A totally chill day with one of my best friends? It sounded great.

When Christmas arrived it was a grey overcast morning, like most winter mornings in Portland, nothing special. We headed out to the Columbia Gorge, about 45 minutes outside of town. As we drove east the sun came out and by the time we arrived at the empty parking lot by Multnomah Falls it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. Winter sun in Portland is a rare gift, and we relished it.

We headed up the trail towards Angel’s rest, and within about a quarter of a mile we hit snow. As we climbed higher the snow got deeper and deeper. The snow was fresh and well-packed and other than the occasional animal footprint, we were the first ones to enjoy its beauty. The sun reflected off the brilliant white snow and kept us warm as we walked the uphills, and ran the flats and downhills.

Iron Man could run about twice as fast as me, but we kept my pace, not pushing, running only for the joy of running. We were talking and laughing, telling stories, and some times just running along quietly, enjoying the silence. All the…

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance non-fiction writer as well as the author of more than 50 books. Find Rose's books at bit.ly/AuthorRoseBak .