Merry Chanukah!

December 18, 2009

This time of year is always a bit of a let down for me. I love Christmas season – I love all the festivities, the good nature, the mall craziness…I love it all. I can’t help but feel that it is an American season that I am left out of though. The trees, the stockings, good ‘ole St. Nick are all customs that exclude me.

Chanuka is great – latkes, dreidels, lighting the menorah is all very thrilling but isn’t the same as all the festivities that America participates. TV shows have Christmas episodes, iconic cartoons have Christmas specials, musicians have special Christmas albums. In recent years Chanukah has definitely gotten more exposure. After all the Today show has a menorah on its set!! There’s no point in trying to compete because will never and should never be Christmas.

For Jewish kids around America, we will always feel left out as a result. The worst is Christmas day. Yes, we go to movies and have our traditional Chinese food which is great. However, the build up until Christmas day is so colossal and then it just comes and goes without any climax. Christmas becomes so anticlimactic to those of us who don’t celebrate it.

Out of respect for the disappointment Christmas season brings my fellow Jews, should Christmas be minimized for our benefit? This brings me to the point – should schools take away “holiday” parties out of respect for those that don’t celebrate THE holiday that America celebrates? As a child, Santa Claus did come visit me. I have celebrated Christmas with others. Was I (or my parents) participating in a holiday that wasn’t ours out of peer pressure? Is it our desire to fit into normal America? Should America’s schools not force other children to feel pressure to celebrate a holiday that they don’t believe in? Will Drew be visited by Santa Claus when he gets older or will it be a custom that doesn’t fit into our Jewish home?

It’s confusing for Jews. We want to get into the season, frankly it’s impossible not to! Are we compromising our beliefs by doing so or just enjoying a holiday that everyone else enjoys too? It probably all stems from society’s obsession with politically correct. Is it possible to be too politically correct? Can’t a child just love Santa Claus and it not have anything at all to do with a religion? Can’t a classroom celebrate a happy season by throwing a party? How far should it go and is Christmas too far? The bottom line is that I’m a Jew who loves Christmas just the way it is…gotta problem with that?!?!

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