Growing up, I was lucky enough not to have to deal with being the only Jewish kid in the neighborhood. In fact, my world was predominantly filled with Jewish families and friends, so come Christmas, I didn’t have to explain to my whole school why I wasn’t being festive and why my house was one tree short. Some kids didn’t get to grow up so lucky, and being Jewish in a Christmas-dominated world must have been hard.
This year, though, all those who were made to deal with Santa Claus and his nightmarish carols get a little treat. For the first time in many, many years, Hanukkah (those amazing eight days of fire, gambling with chocolate, and thanks to guilt-tripped parents having to deal with Christmas, gifts) is coming early. The first night falls on November 27, one day before Thanksgiving (bacon wrapped turkey might be a little wrong this year). Some people call this a pain in the tuchus, but I think it’s excellent and rad!
Think about it. First off, Thanksgiving food is awesome, and Hanukkah latkes (potato pancakes fried in way too much oil) are even better, the idea of combining the cuisines is terrifyingly delicious. Also, imagine dreidel gambling for gelt and for slices of pumpkin pie. You could even use the turkey as a menorah (don’t actually do this). I for one am going to make a brisket and a turkey, and after lighting those candles, eat till my stomach cries.
The folks who are uncomfortable with this amazing juxtaposition of holidays think that with Hanukkah so early, Jewish people won’t get to celebrate it during Christmas (Hanukkah doesn’t get a work/school holiday, so we’ve had to use Christmas) and it’ll get even less attention allegedly. I believe, however, that this gives us the opportunity to enjoy a crazy Thanksgiving/Hanukkah hybrid while avoiding the mess of Christmas or the problem of having kids wanting to hang with their friends on yuletide while Hanukkah is right there watching. Have you ever seen Christmas? It’s a mess! I’m not against it, it’s just a lot of money, time, and convincing your children a fat, magic wizard can see them when they’re asleep.
So this year, I urge my fellow Jewish brethren to stockpile bagels and challah (best stuffing ever?), fill a turkey with knishes, and mix this shit up. I swear it’ll be mega sweet.
And yes, we will still get mad Chinese food on Christmas (two moving-sized boxes of Chinese food > Christmas dinner) and watch the pine tree graveyard occur everywhere but our front lawns. Because isn’t that what Christmas is all about, a giant, chaotic disaster of consumerist madness to which I never have to be privy? Seriously, trees get gross but candles disappear in an awe-inspiring blaze.
Trust me, though, I am not a Christmas hater. I’m really not. I’m just reminding Jewish people to be proud of a wonderfully clean, simple, historically epic holiday that just happens to coincide with piles and piles of turkey this year. It’s sad I don’t get to wrap the bird in bacon this year, but a dreidel made out of pumpkin? Worth it.