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The Friday 5: Top Jewish Things To Do on Christmas

Ah, Christmas: The world’s most commercially viable pseudo-holiday. Full of enduringly confusing symbolism, the celebration drives millions of people (especially American people) insane each year, inspiring them to spend their hard-earned money on crap they (and their loved ones) don’t … Read More

By / December 21, 2007

Ah, Christmas: The world’s most commercially viable pseudo-holiday. Full of enduringly confusing symbolism, the celebration drives millions of people (especially American people) insane each year, inspiring them to spend their hard-earned money on crap they (and their loved ones) don’t need. Though it's based loosely on the birth of Jesus, the festival is really the remains of the pagan winter solstice, and proves that from the beginning, the Christian church has enjoyed the savviest marketing and PR. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of modern, secular Christianity, is that most Jews view Christmas and all of its glittering, flashing, toe-tapping accoutrements as religious, while many Christians do not! How ironical! Whatever lens through which you view the hullabaloo of Christmas, it can be a quiet, lonely day for les Jews, but the following five pastimes have provided solace for decades.

Jews and Chinese food go together like…well, Jews and Chinese food. Legend has it that my father actually indulged in two–that's right, two–Chinese meals while my mother was in labor with me. I wasn't born on Christmas, but Jesus! In any case, many Chinese people don't take part in Christmas celebrations, and their restaurants offer safe and satisfying haven to hungry Jews.

Celebrating Christmas simply isn't kosher, but taking in a double feature at your local cinema is fine and good. Extra large popcorn? Check. Extra large pop? Check. Clear conscience? Check, check, check.

Matzo Ball. Not the soup, but the partay. Not on Christmas day, but on Christmas eve. Hit the ball hard enough, and your hangover will keep you occupied through Dec. 26. Let My People Go throws balls in NYC, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. The Society of Young Jewish Professionals throws balls in Boca Raton, Boston, New York, Miami, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Even Heeb gets in on the party planning action. Don't say I never took you nowhere.

It's a mitzvah and a great way to use the time you don't spend eating a goose or a ham and opening presents around a tree decorated with chotchkies. Volunteer to serve Christmas dinner to the homeless and hungry in your town. Lord knows (ha ha, get it? Lord?) there's a local shelter, church, or temple who needs you.

Christmas day is a great opportunity for Jews to bond with family. You've all got the day off, anyway. Get together and revel in a paid holiday.

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