A Jewish Christmas

Yes, I’m Jewish and yes, I celebrate Christmas. Although I prioritize my Judaism during the holidays, there is nothing that restricts me from getting into the Christmas spirit and dancing along to Michael Buble while decorating gingerbread houses.

I go to a temple to celebrate Hanukkah – which overlaps with Christmas sometimes – but I enjoy spending time doing Christmas festivities like decorating our house with lights, hanging up fun ornaments on a plastic tree, and listening to Christmas music as we bake cookies. But I have to argue that Hanukkah is the best winter holiday, even though the music is not as good as that of Christmas. First of all, there are eight nights of presents. That is over a week of being surprised instead of opening maybe five gifts and a stuffed stocking in a matter of five minutes. The suspense of a gift each night makes the holiday even more fun. Second, nothing beats Hanukkah food. Latkes, or potato pancakes, are my favorite meal of all time. Jelly donuts are a close second. Third, we create beautiful menorahs to uphold a monumental Hanukkah tradition – honoring our past. We commemorate the miracle that one supply of oil lasted eight days in Israel during the chaos. The menorah is a symbol of peace despite everything else happening in our lives. You can customize your menorah however you want – I own a classic menorah, a puppy menorah, and even a ballerina menorah.

Christmas is a nationally recognized holiday in America and us Jews do not want to be left out. It is part of our culture that we walk past trees and lamplights covered in stringed and swirled lights that light up the streets. In fact, about 32% of Jews have a real Christmas tree in their home – and that excludes those who have plastic trees, like my family tradition. The stereotypes are true about Jews at Christmas, for the most part. Every year, my family and I go to the movies and enjoy our time at the theatre before getting Chinese takeout and eating it at home while watching more Hallmark movies next to a toasty warm fire.