Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Gentiles Should Know about the Christmas Season

by a cranky Jew

I do not celebrate Christmas.
Please don’t tell me to have a Merry Christmas. This is comparable to telling a Martian happy 4th of July.

Christmas is not a “secular” or “American” holiday. It is a Christian holiday.
If you celebrate it in a secular way, it is still a secular Christian holiday. (If I celebrate Pesach/Passover without reference to G-d, is it then an “American” holiday? No. It’s a secular Jewish holiday, and it’s no more universal without the G-d language than with it.)

Chanukah is not a Jewish version of Christmas.
It is not even a religious holiday. It’s a cultural/historical holiday commemorating a military victory of a group of Jews (specifically, Macabees) against imperial oppressors (specifically, Syrian Greeks). It’s kinda like the aforementioned 4th of July. Only older, and with miracles.

Chanukah does not occur on December 25th.
It is an eight-day festival beginning on 25 Kislev by the Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar. The corresponding date on the Gregorian calendar, the one commonly used in public life, ranges from mid-November through late December. Therefore, do not tell me to have a happy Chanukah unless you know when Chanukah falls this year, and that it’s not over.

Chanukah may be spelled several ways:
Hanukkah, Hanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukah, etc. That’s because it’s a Hebrew word, and it’s actually spelled like this: חֲנוּכָּה. Chanukah is probably the closest transliteration. It sounds like it looks, only the initial H or Ch sounds like the guttural sound at the end of the composer Bach.
I don’t care how you spell it. Just don’t tell me how weird it is that it has multiple spellings. I’m over it. If you can’t say the Ch sound without spitting on me, then just say H and keep your germs to yourself.

There’s no such thing as a Chanukah bush.
Did you really need to be told that? Christian hegemony appropriated the tradition from Celtic pagans, and now is trying to impose it on Jews. We already have pretty stuff for the holiday. We don’t need Jew-ish-ified trees, wreathes, elves or mistletoe.

Chanukah is not a good excuse to tell me about your best friend, neighbor, or distant relative who is a Jew.
If you didn’t care enough to tell me the rest of the year, then I don’t care to hear about it now.

Don’t try to impress me with how much you know about Chanukah or about Judaism.
It’s a safe bet I know a whole lot more than that about Christmas and Christianity. Not cause I’m so smart or so studied. Just cause y’all are everywhere.

“Happy Holidays” is not an acceptable secular substitute for “Merry Christmas.”
No matter what words you use, we both know you’re only saying it because of Christmas. Otherwise, you would say it in September/October and March/April, when I’m observing major religious holidays, as well as in December, when you are.


Anonymous said...

Nice color scheme.

When I first read this I was concerned about my response to non-Christians (namely Jews) this time of year. While I was pondering this at work, someone bought Hannukah candles from me. A friend of his said "What day does it start this year?" and I responded without thinking. Maybe I'm on the right track for a goy.

Anonymous said...

i showed this to some people at my work, and they all were like, wow that's great... show it to mike...
but no one would do it.

dlhoratio said...

I would be so tempted to give this out to the girls in the "cutie pie Santa" suits that stand guard at all the Jersey mall entrances.

But hey, they probably don't want to be there either.

dlhoratio said...

Also, if any readers liked this entry, they should check out It's The Most Alienating Time of the Year"> over at Leodios's livejournal. That means you too, Davey.