What December Dilemma?: Why Jews Love Christmas
(We interrupt transit strike hysteria to bring you the following:)
In a few short days, Jews everywhere will look on with envy as the Gentile world celebrates Christmas. For although some experts contend that a rigid non-secular orthodoxy polarizes the various sects that make up this great nation, many of us in the Jewish faith secretly long to celebrate Christmas, and we embrace this holiday as our own. Some of us are even 'Yuletide Jews,' sneaking off to indulge in holiday festivities and other forms of jolliness behind closed doors. Why do we Jews love Christmas so much?
Christmas Is One Day, Not Eight: While the conventional wisdom among non-Jews suggests that the eight nights of Hanukkah yields a bigger bonanza of gifts, this has not proven itself out over time, as any Jew will tell you. In fact, the so-called 'eight night's theory' often works against the gift recipient, because gift givers can string together a series of cheap presents and feel they've been generous. It's quality, not quantity that counts. Moreover, the serial nature of Hanukkah requires interaction with relatives for a week's worth of evenings. Christmas celebrators can meet their familial obligations over an extended, egg nog-filled morning, with the freedom to be back home in time to watch reruns of Law & Order that afternoon.
Christmas Occurs on a Fixed Annual Date: Christmas may come only once a year, but at this point in time, most people know what that exact date will be. When will Hanukkah occur? It's easier to perfect cold fusion than it is to make this prediction. The festival of lights can fall anywhere between Labor Day and December 31, and it changes annually. For a Chosen people, we are remarkably indecisive on this issue. In fact we cannot even agree upon a spelling for our holiday.
Christmas Allows More Interaction With Nature: The Yuletide season brings a bonanza of oxygen-rich greenery: Enormous Douglas fir trees brimming with verdant life, wreaths woven of holly, mistletoe hung from every last doorway. Entering a home decorated for Christmas is like walking through a botanical garden. What do Jews get? A sparse Hanukkah bush, if we're lucky. And, as it turns out, most Jews avoid the lighted bushes altogether, remembering that our last experience such an object led to forty years of wandering through the desert. Even with the advent of iPods and bottled water, this is a destiny most Jews are not anxious to repeat.
Christmas Meals Are Not Entirely Potato-Based: Like Communism and the launch of new Coke, potato latkes are wonderful in theory. But after the first dozen or so, the heavy, flour-based fried objects begin to lose their appeal, and they are hell for anyone trying to follow Atkins. Yet, eat them we must. Sure, we get to dress latkes with all manner of topping, but this does not make for a well-balanced meal, despite the contention of certain Talmudic scholars that sour cream and apple sauce, when mixed together, constitute an as-yet unnamed sixth food group.
Christmas Is Recognized As An Actual Holiday: Despite the fact the we have been in business for nearly 6,000 years, the Jewish people have not been able to successfully convince human resource departments that Hanukkah is a legitimate holiday. For this reason, Jews who wish to observe in an environment free of PowerPoint presentations must use valuable vacation or personal time. This often requires groveling, the filing of paperwork and confusing discussions involving the term 'rollover days.' Christmas, on the other hand, is universally viewed as a national slack period of rest when only Scrooges and medical professionals would deign to toil in their respective workplaces.