Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Differences Between Christmas and Chanukah

On Xmas Eve Sandra's family has a traditional get-together that includes a Program.  Sandra has come to rely on me for our contribution, and I've come to rely on Google to help me find something that will fit my perverse nature.  I look for something non-traditional as a counterpoint to all the predictable songs, poems, etc.  This is what I turned up this year.  I don't know who wrote it:

Christmas is one day, same day every year.  December 25.  Jews love Dec. 25th.  It's another day off with pay.  We go to movies and out for Chinese food.  Chanukah is 8 days long. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that is.  No one is ever sure.  Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don't look like idiots.  We all have the same calendar, provided free by the kosher butcher.

Christmas is a major holiday.  Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays.  They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.

Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos . . . Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks or the collected works of Maimonedes, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

There is only one way to spell Christmas.  No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Hanukah, Hannuka, Hannukah.

Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends.  Their partners expect special gifts.  Jewish men are relieved of that burden.  No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

Christmas brings enormous electric bills.  Candles are used for Chanukah.  Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.

Christmas carols are beautiful.  Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful . . .Chanukah songs are about dreydels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah.  Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our people. And don't Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful.  The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking.  Happy people are gathered around in festive moods.  A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions.  The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

Women have fun baking Christmas cookies.  Women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Chanukah.  Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it.  On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything, and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

Many Christians believe in the virgin birth.  Jews think, Joseph, please . . . snap out of it.  Your woman is pregnant, you didn't sleep with her, and now she wants to blame God!?  Here's the number of my psychiatrist.

In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized.  The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday.  It makes sense.  How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur?  Forget about celebrating.  Think suffering.  Come to the synagogue all day, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family.  Tickets a mere $200 per person.

Better stick with Chanukah.


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