I purchased a "Hanukkah bush".
Before my Jewish friends pass judgement and my mother bombards me with Jewish guilt, let me explain:
I have researched the topic quite thoroughly. Ok, I hit Wikipedia for the justification for which I was searching. And in my own defense, trees have long been a part of Jewish culture. I had the Tree of Life on my ketubah. We planted trees in Israel when I spent the summer there in 1997. Symbolically the tree represents life, change and growth in the Jewish faith. So stick a light on it and I am heretic? I think not!
I didn't go for the six foot tall fir tree decked out in lights with gold and silver ornaments covering its green limbs. I didn't buy the train set which makes a continuous loop around the tree, nor did I treat myself to the stockings which, although I have no mantle or fireplace, would look adorable hung right in the front hall. I did forgo all those items, but I had to get a "Hanukkah Bush".
My "bush" is merely a 1 foot tall shrub of some sort that I picked up at Trader Joe's. It slightly resembled the shrubs which outlined my parents' driveway in their old house. The tag on it said "Holiday Tree" which is exactly how it rung up on my register receipt. Complete with lights in the shape of pine cones, I found nothing religious at all about this tree. "Are you going to plant it outside," asked the checker with her pierced eyebrow, lip and nose who examined the bush before she put it in a brown paper bag. "No, am I suppose to?" I asked. I thought, being the holiday season and all that the tree was intended for indoor use. "Well it is a living, breathing tree," she said as she pointed to the soil it was potted in. "I would keep it indoors until the spring and then plant it," she suggested.
Little does my mother know - come April, my holiday bush will be permanently planted in her grassy, green backyard.