Growing up with parents who came from two religious backgrounds (Christian and Jewish), you would think I would have celebrated both sets of holidays, but as a child, I didn’t. Once my mom’s parents passed away, the dual holidays ended.
So as a child, I celebrated only the Jewish holidays. However, I grew up in a predominately Catholic neighborhood, and I felt as if I were “missing out” on all those big colorful Christian holidays – especially Christmas. To be honest, there were times I felt pretty bad when people would say “Merry Christmas” to me thinking, “Santa isn’t coming to my house lady.”
Maybe it makes me a bad Jew, but embracing both sets of holidays as I’ve gotten older has been a lot of fun. But when you’re not trimming that tree or waiting for a fictional fat guy to come down your chimney with gifts, how do you react to all the Christmas hype? Here’s a how-to guide for all those Jewish folks who also feel a little left out during the “merry” holiday season.
How to Respond When People Say “Merry Christmas”
When people say “Merry Christmas” and you don’t celebrate, you could do a few things depending on how good of an actor/actress you are:
- Cry and say, “I’ll just be alone on Christmas … eating my Chinese food.” Be sure to cry loudly and hysterically.
- Get wistful and say, “Santa doesn’t come to my house anymore after I told him I don’t believe Jesus is the son of G-d.”
- Ask if you can come over and eat Christmas dinner with them. Tell them no one in your family likes you.
How To Deal With Secret Santa Requests
What about when people ask to do secret Santa and you sob a little inside because Santa never came to your house as a kid? You can:
- Get huffy and say, “How about we add other fake characters to the gifting? Like Secret Tooth Fairy or Secret Leprechaun?” Tell them you’re tired of the exclusions against Jews. (You might have to tell them afterwards that you were kidding.)
- Be insulted that no one asked you to be Kanta Claus, the Jewish version of Santa that doesn’t really exist.
- Tell them you have a personal vendetta against Santa after refusing to visit your house for all those years.
- Ask them if you can bring a Chinese food lunch instead.
How To Find A Card That Doesn’t Say “Merry Christmas”
After passing by the large variety of Christmas cards in the store – romantic, funny, musical, religious, serious, modern, child-friendly, grandma-friendly, cousin-friendly, coworker-friendly and more – you proceed to go to the tiny section marked “Hanukkah” cards.
You then proceed to buy the same Hanukkah card that you have bought and sent your family for the past decade and hope they don’t notice!
How to Respond When People Ask You About Your Christmas Plans
When people ask what you’re doing for Christmas this year, say that you’re staging a protest over the lack of Hanukkah cards or that you’re performing a last supper skit with your Jewish improv troupe!
Being Jewish at a time when the whole world seems focused on a Christian holiday isn’t easy. However, having a good sense of humor can help you deal with a Christmas-obsessed world. And if all else fails, there’s always Chinese food to lift your spirits!
You may also be interested in The Holiday Relationship Test: Sharing Your Hanukkah Traditions