A Lonely Jew On Christmas

This is usually the point where I would swear I have nothing against Christians, that I love & cherish people regardless of their religion, & that I welcome them to celebrate their holidays with all the love, gift-giving, decorating, treats, & other trappings they wish.

Instead, I think I’ll just imply the heck out of it.

Every year, starting around Thanksgiving, I start feeling like Kyle in the “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo” episode of South Park.  If you don’t know what that means, please refer to this post’s title.  If you don’t know what that means, I’m going to refer you to my colleague, Dr. Google.

I don’t have an issue with the holiday itself.  Nor do I have a fit every time someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas” – I simply wish them a “Happy Hanukkah” in return.  I think that’s a pretty light-hearted way to say: “Hey, you made a mistake, but I know you mean well!”

Also, I’m snarky as heck by nature, & afterwards we’ve both wished each other happiness on a holiday we don’t celebrate.  We’re even-Stevens.  Or, Stephanies.

It’s not that I take issue with the people on Christmas.  It’s the feeling of isolation, of exclusion, from the holiday season.  It’s as if, for all intents and purposes, Hanukkah doesn’t exist.

Everywhere I look, it’s Christmas.  Trees, red & green, reindeer, Santa, string lights, ornaments, candy canes – none of which is associated with any other holiday.  & don’t get me started on the music playing in stores, doctors’ offices, on the radio, everywhere.

That’s why, when I hear the talking heads on TV talk about “the war on Christmas,” I have to choke back laughter.  Sometimes it’s bile.  It depends on the day.

Wishing people a “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or not putting up nativity scenes on public property, is people recognizing not everyone celebrates Christmas.  It’s literally the least people can do.

I guess what I’m saying is this: don’t make assumptions.  Share the warmth you feel this season with everyone around you.  Wish people a “happy holidays” unless you’re positive they celebrate Christmas* – not to mention it includes wishing them a bright & fruitful New Year.

This is a time for inclusion.  A time for love & peace.  For making everyone, regardless of their religion, feel welcome.  I know, for me at least, it goes a long way to warming my heart & making me feel like I’m not just A Lonely Jew on Christmas.

Like I’m not an afterthought.

*Bonus Points: If you know that people don’t celebrate Christmas, even if you’re not sure of their particular affiliation, don’t wait until Christmas to wish them well.  Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but hearing “Happy Holidays” on Christmas is sort of disingenuous.  Especially when, like a couple of years ago, my holiday ended weeks earlier.

Happy Holidays to everyone!  A bright & peaceful Hanukah, a joyous Kwanza, &, yes, a very Merry Christmas.  May the best of 2016 be the worst of 2017 for you all!

45 thoughts on “A Lonely Jew On Christmas”

  1. I’m sorry you feel excluded. None of those things like trees, lights, etc… were originally Christian anyway. As a neopagan, I take serious issue with Christians freaking out over public removal of the symbols, knowing that they were actually stolen from pagans to make forced conversion easier.
    I do my best to be sensitive to when other holidays occur, but I also recognize that for many faiths, this season’s holiday isn’t even their biggest.
    So when you’re celebrating Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, I will understand if you fail to mention Mabon.
    Happy second night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do know about the origins of Christmas. I also know that a lot of it has become secular in the ensuing millennia. I watched a great episode of this show called “Adam Ruins Everything,” where he “ruined” Christmas by explaining its origins. It also explained that presents are only worth the value we place on them, so giving cash/gift cards is actually a good idea.

      I think, even if people don’t say it, your sensitivity is appreciated. I know I appreciate it. That’s why I think wishing people a “Happy Holidays” is a fair compromise, even if, as I said, I’m overly sensitive about it sometimes. I’m a brat. A snarky, snarky brat. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oo! Do you watch it too? I haven’t found anyone who watched it too! Didja see the one he did on the Wild West? I loved it (mostly because it showed women’s part in the creation of cities &, eventually, states)!

        Woohoo! Best brat! I dedicate this award to all the snarks & all the brats – keep working hard & you’ll get there too! You’ll piss a whole lotta people off in the process, but you’ll get there too! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bwahahaha! to the acceptance speech.
        Yes, I do, but it’s been a while since I had cable. I still try and catch clips on YouTube, so I’ll look for that one. Especially if it has Emily Axford in it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m terrible with names, so I had to look up Emily Axford. I had an idea about it, since she was one of the first main female characters. But, no, she wasn’t in the Wild West episode. Actually, aside from Adam, there weren’t really any of the regular characters that I saw.

        I like Ms. Axford too, though. I think she’s adorkable. Although, I really like Adam’s sister too. I’m open-minded when it comes to attractive people… I mean, um… they’re good characters? *innocent whistle*

        Liked by 1 person

      4. She’s married to one of the other College Humor people, which would’ve broken my heart, but she’s a celebrity crush so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Not like I’d ever meet her and win her over with my fantastic whatever I have. But women like her are my weakness.
        I don’t really know of Adam’s sister. I guess I maybe recognize her a little. Funny enough, her name is Emily too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. OK, I’ve gotta ask: what makes “women like her” a weakness?

        Adam’s sister appeared as a real focal character in some of the newer episodes. Usually episodes that don’t have a lot of Emily Axford in them. So, maybe that’s why you’re not as familiar with her. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Talented, funny, seemingly intelligent, and attractive. Plus, I have a thing for dark hair and her eyes are nice.
        Yeah, I haven’t seen a lot of newer ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Liking women that match that description doesn’t sound like a weakness to me. It sounds like you have good taste. LOL

        There was another new episode on this week. Adam ruined “Going Green” & told Hipsters they suck (OK, maybe not that last bit). Like most episodes, it was really depressing up until the end. Even then, it was kinda like we as individuals can’t do jack squat. :-/

        But, more importantly, Emily Axford wasn’t in it. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      8. It’s true, many things individuals do don’t help. Some actually make things worse. But when we do something, it allows for greater systematic changes that may actually make a difference until we fuck it up be electing Trump.
        I do have good taste, but that’s a weakness. Lmfao

        Liked by 1 person

      9. That’s pretty much what Adam said – individuals can do small things to help the environment, but we often do more damage than we realize. He also said that, once Coca-Cola & other companies switched from glass bottles (that people returned to the company, which it washed & reused) to plastic (more cost-effective), the companies blamed the massive increase in trash on people. He implied that this was where people started feeling it was their job to save the planet.

        He also said that our world’s dependence on fossil fuels is a cyclical issue, so it’s bigger than any one person can fix. Again, he made me sad. But, it was a good episode! Check it out if you find a minute.

        Yeah, our planet is doomed. If it’s not nuclear war, it’s going to be using that “2 degree increase” the Paris agreement talked about as a minimum goal instead of a dire warning. 😦

        Women are a good weakness to have, in my opinion. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Except when they rip your still beating heart from your chest and hold it in front of your face so you can see how black it is before you die.
        Soda companies should be required to go back to glass. Seattle is my favorite example of individual verses systemic change in what they try to do for the environment. No Styrofoam, no plastic grocery bags, mandatory recycling (which isn’t always for the best), emissions testing, just things in place to make a larger impact than where I live now.
        I will definitely try to check that episode out.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Oh yeah. I know that feeling too well. Then again, I’ve also found that men aren’t much better… Now I have a cat. LOL

        I’ll keep offering until you take me up on it, or tell me to STFU (either is OK with me!) – I’m here to talk if you need. People suck, but then there are other people who care & aren’t totally awful. I hope to be the latter to as many people as possible.

        I almost moved out to that area. I would have liked to live in a progressive area like that. I’ve also heard that Portland, OR is initiating some amazing programs, like taxing CEOs who make more than 250x what their employees do & giving the money to the homeless. & CA has some amazing green energy initiatives.

        Basically, I’m on the wrong darned coast. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      12. You know what… you’re absolutely right. It could definitely be worse (sorry!!) – I live about 40 minutes from this liberal bastion often referred to as a large piece of fruit. Unfortunately, I still live in a state that, despite its botanical nickname, its main crop is smokestacks. :-/

        Liked by 1 person

      13. You realize you’re not being at all vague there, right? Do you have the accent? Do you know Zach Braff or Kevin Smith? Do they really have the best subs?

        Liked by 1 person

      14. You realize I’m not trying to be at all vague there, right? LOL 😉

        I think I have an accent. It’s not as bad as some other people’s – that I know for a fact.

        I don’t know anyone famous, although it’s a family rumor that we’re related to Robert De Niro. It’s probably B.S., like the story that my Great-Grandmother smuggled diamonds into the country in her baby’s diaper. Although… my Mom’s engagement ring is pretty impressive. LOL

        Yes, we really have the best subs. & the best bagels, Chinese food, pizza, Kosher deli… this place is fatty-pants heaven. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      15. I think that place 40 miles away might dispute your bagel claims. And no, the best pizza is nowhere on the East Coast. Yeah, I said it. What??? Hahaha. Now for Chinese food and Kosher deli stuff, once again I’m going to bet that place 40 miles away might think you’re wrong.
        Unless you’re lumping yourself in with them since it’s only 40 miles.
        But NJ subs are supposed to be the best.
        And yeah, I know you weren’t, I was just messing with you for not saying it but giving the most obvious hints in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. We may have to fight about that pizza comment. Actually, I’m not a huge pizza fan, so… you got lucky this time! Once again, apathy saves another communication. LOL

        Hmm… it’s a really close call between where I am & that place an hour/40 miles away. There’s a better chance that crappy places will go out of business there, since there are so many other options, but it’s similar here. We have a really dense population, & a lot of different Asian populations. Also, a ton of Jews.

        Plus, the super-secret state I live in may have moved up since the famous deli in the fruit-city closed this week. 😉

        If those arguments fail, there’s always the fact that I can take a bus & get what some declare is better ethnic food. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Well that’s fair enough, I suppose.

        But pizza should never be foldable!!!! I’m glad you not being a fan if pizza translates into me being lucky. Josh forbid I disagree with you on something you care about! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      18. I’ve never had pizza that isn’t foldable. Well, except for Sicilian & ziti pizza slices – although the latter might be a local cuisine. Great for hangovers or people with serious carb addictions. LOL

        Well… I’ve been told I’ve got a pretty nasty temper. Most of the past issues people have encountered with that wouldn’t affect you, since I can’t put you in a choke hold from here. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      19. Also unintentionally ironic, since it’s a leading cause of choking. I only realized how it sounded when you put the two in the same sentence. 😀

        However, I care about more than food. You merely said “Josh forbid I should disagree with you on something you care about!” Perhaps, one day, you’ll disagree with me on something about which I care… woe unto you. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      20. You joke (or, as some might say, “you josh,” 😉 ), but “Ariel” is Hebrew for “Lion/Lioness of G-d.” XD

        It’s also the magical spirit of the island in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. So… I’m a magical lioness. Be a-feared! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      21. Well Jesus was actually named Joshua, and while I know neither of us believe he was the Messiah, I think it’s okay to say he was a pretty good dude.
        So it would be pretty f-ef if a god were to sick it’s lioness on me. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      22. I didn’t know that Jesus’s name was actually Joshua. Normally, I would look it up & not take your word for it (nothing personal; it’s “trust, but verify” lol), but that makes a lot of sense. I haven’t read the New Testament yet, but I know that the names become weirdly Anglicized in it. I mean, the names “Joseph” & “Mary” come outta no where!

        I can agree that Jesus – if he existed – was a good man. Great Jew, for that matter. The Last Supper was a Passover Seder. LOL

        But, Jesus isn’t G-d (in my book). My G-d is the vengeful bugger who sent plagues after people. Or, at least, that’s the G-d I was raised to (fear) respect. LOL XD

        Liked by 1 person

      23. He isn’t mine either. Yeshua for Joshua, changed to Jesus in some translation. And there it is. But he is just alright with me. He’s just alright, oh yeah! (Have you noticed I repeat that joke a ton?!?)

        Liked by 1 person

      24. Well, there it is… plus about 1,000ish years between Testaments. Names’ popularity does change. LOL

        I hadn’t noticed that you repeat that joke a ton. I didn’t realize jokes had weight! Although joke books have weight, so I guess that would be a lot of books repeating the same joke. & I feel like I would have noticed you repeating it that often!

        Also… I don’t get it. Are those song lyrics or something?

        Liked by 1 person

      25. You’ve never heard that song?!?! Yes, they’re lyrics. The most popular version is by the Doobie Brothers and was released in 1972, although the original was first released in 1965. Alright being a way to incorporate the “cool” slang of the time as Christers like to do to promote their religion.
        However, because it’s just alright in the song, you get my actual opinion. Not great. Not awful. Just alright.

        Liked by 1 person

      26. No, I’ve never heard that song. Or, it’s possible I did, but I’m just not that familiar with it & don’t recognize it from a few words.

        I’d look it up, but I have a bad habit of getting songs stuck in my head through conversations with you. Mostly it’s my fault, though. I could YouTube it. *ponders*

        OK, I looked it up. I’ve never heard it before. It doesn’t really surprise me. Even though I have a very eclectic taste in music, I’m not a huge “Doobie Brothers” fan. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      27. Ah, that partially explains it. Ever since I got my fancy-schmancy new Honda (in 2005, mind you LOL), I’ve had access to an AUX input to connect my iPod or my cell phone. I only listen to the radio when the unthinkable happens… or when I had Sprint. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry I just read this! It’s a good post, though I have to say I’m not sure I totally agree with you. While I do feel you should feel included and that people shouldn’t make you feel otherwise, I don’t think it’s horrible or rude (sorry if you didn’t mean that it was) to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Personally, I just like the sound of ‘Merry Christmas’ more and I think that the majority of people do celebrate Christmas. I do understand your point of view though – you don’t want to feel disrespected or like people don’t care about your holidays.

    Another thing is that I think it’s a little tough for places to decorate for ALL of the possible celebrated holidays. I mean, yes, they could just put up decorations like snowflakes or signs that say “Happy Holidays”, but I don’t think decorating for just Christmas is anything bad – can you imagine if they decorated for every holiday out there?

    Sorry if that got heated. I don’t totally disagree with you, I’m just sharing my opinion. I do respect what you’re saying though and it does make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

      Let me preface this by saying, you’re perfectly welcome to disagree with me. I think that we’ll never learn anything if we merely agree with our friends. I take no offense to your comment.

      However, I do want to clarify a few things. I hope I’m not too blunt, as I know that can come across online as rude & like I’m angry (I’m absolutely not, but, I’m waaaay behind on responding to my emails & I wanna get to everything! 🙂 )

      I don’t think it’s horrible or rude to say Merry Christmas. I know, sometimes, that people get into a “groove,” especially if they’re sending well-wishes to all their friends & family who might celebrate Christmas.

      The majority of people may celebrate Christmas, but it’s safe to assume that not everyone does, & I think it’s polite to recognize that fact. If a person isn’t sure what another person celebrates, – if they celebrate anything – it’s appropriate to say “Happy Holidays.” This, especially, pertains to doctors’ offices, stores, places of that nature. As I said, it’s literally the least someone can do to be inclusive.

      All that aside, as I said, I don’t usually take offense to someone wishing me “Merry Christmas. I may give a snarky reply, & I can’t say I never get a bit upset by it, but I try my hardest. (We have a difference of opinion on which sounds better – Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas – but that’s a subjective opinion & understandable. 😉 )

      I agree that it would be difficult for places to decorate for all possible celebrated holidays. Some might even not have unique decorations/symbols related to them.

      However, I don’t see the problem with using genuinely generic winter deocrations – snowflakes, snowmen, signs like you pointed out saying “Happy Holidays.” Especially in the million advertisements that start playing on repeat, ad nauseum, telling people about holiday sales. Why pointedly exclude people, especially if you’re interested in taking their money or offering a service?

      I understand that you don’t think “decorating for just Christmas is anything bad.” I don’t necessarily think it’s anything bad either – I think it’s just not welcoming to people who don’t celebrate that holiday. To me (& it might only be to me; I can’t speak for the entire minority of Jewish people, nor any other group), it conveys the attitude of “We’re catering to the majority, & if you’re not in it, too bad.”

      Still, I think I could have made it more clear that this is a cumulative effect. These little irritations add up & make me feel like my holiday doesn’t exist.

      I’m not asking for people to recognize my holiday to the exclusion of all others, nor even to recognize my holiday equally with Christmas. I’m saying that I want recognition for myself – & every other minority religion – that we exist.

      Obviously, I’m not angry, nor am I saying it’s a huge deal. I’m saying it makes me feel isolated & unwelcome. That’s certainly the antithesis of the season, right?

      Also, I think it’s adorable that you’re worried that your reply was “heated.” If that’s “heated,” you don’t wanna see me when I have strong differences of opinion with someone! LOL Then again, “heated” isn’t always a bad thing! Heated debate is healthy & it makes you support/defend your opinion. However, I do see some points that I wasn’t making in your reply. I hope I addressed them here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for saying so.

        You do have a unique perspective. I think you do see Hanukkah when it’s displayed, but, & I apologize if this opinion seems mean (that’s not my intention, but it’s an assumption on my part, so it could definitely come across that way!!! 😦 ), I think that, since you celebrate both holidays, you get more excited about Christmas than I do. I don’t get excited about it, at all. When I see it, & I see it everywhere, it makes me feel… unimportant. Like I don’t exist.

        But, I’m sure I’m beating a dead horse by now. Thank you for taking the time to read & for pointing out where my point was weak. It was really helpful. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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