Christmas can be an awkward time if you’re Jewish. So much of the holiday is secular but it’s celebrating the birth of…well let’s not go there. After all these years it’s feels just as awkward. Do I wish people a Merry Christmas or do I stick with Happy Holidays? If they wish me a Merry Christmas do I tell them I don’t celebrate Christmas or just smile? I do exchange gifts with Christian friends, but not with Jews.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been tagged on Twitter with various Christmas themed hashtag games. Like list your favorite Christmas tradition. To be honest, that would be going out for Chinese food and seeing a movie. My best strategy this time of year is keeping my head down and try not to attract much attention. Like when you were in school and didn’t do your homework, so you would try to look inconspicuous, hoping the teacher didn’t ask you a question.
Every Jewish person deals with it differently. Hey, some make money off of Christmas. Both Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand released Christmas albums over the years. In fact, some of the most famous Chirstmas songs have been written by /Jewish people – Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne), Do You Hear What I Hear (Gloria Shayne Baker) and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (George Wyle, Edward Pola), White Christmas (Irving Berlin), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks), and so many more.
Many Jews travel over the Christmas break. That’s a nice way to spend Christmas but unless you’re traveling to Iran, you aren’t going to be able to avoid the pervasiveness of the holiday.
Frankly, there are about 6 Jewish holidays between Labor Day and New Years, so by the time Christmas rolls around, we have had our fill of family dinners. By the time Christmas comes, I’m happy to have a couple of stress-free days and quiet. I so some writing, reading and TV binge watching. Oh, and enjoy the cookies that my non-Jewish friends have baked.
Happy holidays and have a safe and healthy New Years.