You’re Jewish, how can your favorite holiday be Christmas?

Daisy Friedman, Design Editor

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Ah, December the time for lights, hot cocoa, family and you guessed it, Christmas. This time purity and togetherness is enticing for any average bear, even a young Jewish girl. I began celebrating Christmas a few years ago, because my step mom is Christian. Since then, I realized that I had been jipped of the best holiday on the Gregorian calendar. I have grown tired of the three Hanukkah songs, games of dreidel and the infamous ‘Mensch on a Bench.’ Don’t get me wrong, I value my culturally Jewish upbringing more than many things in my life, but once I drank the Kool Aid with the whole “celebrating Christmas thing,” there was no going back.

 

In my contemporary, teenage, Jewish mind, I do not find it to be sacrilegious that Christmas my favorite holiday, because I am not in it for Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth seemed like a pretty cool guy, but I am perfectly okay with waiting for my messiah. I love the culture of Christmas. The world seems so much brighter and for a brief moment, in almost complete unity. (Besides all of the other religious groups that are forgotten from the equation, but it’s Christmas? Why dwell on the actual imperfections of the world?) The decorations wed with the warm, rich foods make me feel protected in this blanket of comfort. I think another fascinating thing to me is the change of perspective I get by participating. Christmas is so commercialized now, it is hardly about religion at all. This allows people to relate to it more, but also takes out the sanctity of it, which seems unfair to some.

 

I like the  sense of calmness in the Christmas spirit. At all of my family gatherings, it is a battle of who can talk the loudest, if you’ve found a nice Jewish boy yet, or if your wardrobe is up to par for Grandma. With Christmas there is a more contained atmosphere. The thing that really reeled me into the practices of Christmas was Hallmark movies. Oh, the cheesy goodness of predictable, medicorely acted love stories. They allow me to access my hopeless romantic side and hope that kindness will become contagious and permeate through our world as it does in theirs.

Maybe my love comes from the need of conformity that many teenagers face. Maybe, I have felt on the outskirts? Society revolves around this one day for over two months. I, as a Jewish kid, never saw the representation that I wanted. Everybody idolized Santa while I was left in the dust with “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” Maybe it’s because I feel that the world is crumbling to shambles and I don’t know how to fix it. I respect the sense of unity that Christmas brings. People shouting their joy from the rooftops may seem socially unacceptable in other circumstances, but for Christmas, it’s how you show your support of the joy in the world. In the words of Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

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