by Haliey Nettler
Wake up, but don’t run downstairs. Why not? There’s no Christmas tree. A majority of
your friends are busy opening presents and celebrating with their families. Your morning can
mirror theirs, but without seeing the cookies Santa ate and presents he left.
This is the reality of a Jewish Christmas.
For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, there isn’t much for us to do. A common
tradition is movies and Chinese food. Some may even hit the ski slopes on Christmas Day
because it’s prime ski time. The slopes are empty and the lift lines are nonexistent. Most other
activities and stores are closed for the day. And although it’s a cheerful time, the holiday cheer is
softer on Dec. 25 for those who don’t celebrate because the hustle and bustle has died down to
a mellow, almost nonexistent hum.
The disconnected feeling Jews may experience on Christmas can be quite prominent.
Imagine walking into Target crowded with shoppers. Christmas decorations are everywhere you
look. Then you ask: But what about Hanukkah? You walk all the way to the back of the store, and
there it is: a shelf. Just a shelf, with a few menorahs on it. Wow.
Then you go to Party City looking for more decorations, overwhelmed by the red and
green accessories. There are aisles upon aisles filled with assorted Christmas decorations,
clothes and more. You continue to wander and stumble upon a miniature aisle with
miscellaneous Hanukkah items. And once again, wow.
Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” is also an exciting tradition many enjoy. Everyone is
tuning in night after night to watch classic Christmas movies. The spirit is thriving, but what
about Hanukkah? I don’t see an Eight Days of Hanukkah tradition, but maybe they should think
about starting that.
Christmastime is an exciting part of the year. Most people are in a better mood and much
friendlier than usual. There are always cute stories shared on the news, music playing and
traditions amongst most families. But every year I continue to wonder why most people say, “I
love Christmastime” and not just “Holiday time.”