Average Jane

First Night of Hanukkah (Or, 24 Days ‘Til Christmas)

“I believe a ‘Happy Hanukkah’ is in order,” a friend remarked this morning on IM. I can feel the time lapse between his typing “happy” and that ambiguously spelled word that references a holiday celebrated somewhat similarly to, and sometimes in proximity to, that other holiday with the fat guy in the hat and creepy beard.

“On behalf of all the Jews, I assure you that we’ll continue to rise up against the Greeks for years to come.” Oh, come on. You think I’d actually be gracious?

The winter holiday season is not mama’s favorite. Forced to endure a month of Christmas cheer, including but not limited to Christmas Carols that play ad nauseum in every public establishment, Christmas decorations that go up right around Halloween, and people wishing me “Happy Holidays” when what they really want to say is “Merry Christmas” but they can’t because there’s an off chance I might be a Jew in which case they wouldn’t want to wish me Happy Holidays anyway because IT ISN’T MY HOLIDAY!

I do get it. I do – Christmas Spirit ain’t about Jesus. Which is cool. And is why we don’t have crucifixes hanging in the mall for a month.  And it really isn’t that I don’t think Christmas lights are pretty when executed tastefully and with restraint.

I want Christians to celebrate Christmas gleefully and heartily. But don’t act like Hanukkah is the same as Christmas or maybe better because we get 8 WHOLE PRESENTS! Ask you Jewish friends what kind of presents they got. I got socks last year. Men’s socks. From Sam’s Club.  And when I say, “I’m sick of Christmas Carols,” don’t say, “But you have Hanukkah Songs! There’s that one by Adam Sandler!” Because then you run out. Although this one from Matisyahu is pretty rad. And the video is of him beating up Christmas.)

It’s a great holiday, one where we celebrate our pride as Jews as we overcame oppression and the destruction of our temple and the miracle of the oil lasting 8 nights instead. It is called the Festival of Lights. If Jews all of a sudden started hanging twinkly lights on our homes to celebrate, what do you think the reaction would be? Instead, we put a little electric menorah in our windows and are force-fed fried things while counting the seconds until our Jewish mothers tell us we’re putting on a little weight.

I don’t make you eat matzah on Passover or fast on Yom Kippur. I don’t shove my holidays in your face. You’d hate it, trust me. Lulavs are pretty rad, and getting drunk on Simchat Torah ain’t bad either. But I wouldn’t ask you partake in a day that isn’t yours and I guess I just wish the country would respect the fact that Christmas isn’t mine.

But, uh, thanks for the after-Easter candy sales. They are kind of rad.

(Update: Check out Bathroom Reading for my buddy’s own take on this joyous time of year!)


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  1. * Katherine says:

    Soooo…no giant chocolate Baby Jesus? 🙂

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
    • * Average Jane says:

      Don’t. Even. Think about it. And remember, it’s DARK chocolate baby Jesus. kthxbai.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
  2. * Catherine says:

    Thanks for writing this. I think a lot of people just don’t realize that Hannakuh is not equivelant to Christmas… but that’s the way the media has portrayed it for so many years, it’s hard to know that unless someone tells you. I just learned more about this in the past several years from a coworker. It was actually kind of astonishing to me, you know? But I think you do a great service by posting this and sharing your perspective on the holidays 🙂

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
  3. * Alex says:

    I think this card might make you feel better.


    Barefoot coffee roasters had a real menorah going last night. Wish you were there!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
  4. * Joey O. says:

    Crucifixes in the mall don’t go up until Lent, silly. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 6 months ago

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