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The Next Person Who Sends Me a “Chrismukkah” Pitch Gets Punched in the Face

It’s that time of year again. Stores are playing Christmas music on a nonstop loop, there are tree-sellers on every corner, and the Jews are grumpy about only getting a tiny amount of Hanukkah stuff in the holiday aisle at … Read More

By / December 9, 2009

It’s that time of year again. Stores are playing Christmas music on a nonstop loop, there are tree-sellers on every corner, and the Jews are grumpy about only getting a tiny amount of Hanukkah stuff in the holiday aisle at the local craft shop. I’m no Grinch, but there’s one thing about the holiday season that really makes me crazy. It’s not the 17,000 different versions of "Jingle Bells" or the TV networks being hijacked by shmaltzy feel-good movies. No, it’s one word: Chrismukkah.

Here’s the thing. I grew up in an interfaith home. We celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas every year. There was a menorah and a Christmas tree, stockings and gelt. However, we did not make any attempt to shove the two holidays into one easily digestible, meaningless lump. Sometimes they were three entire weeks apart and didn’t overlap at all, thus highlighting the fact that they were distinguishable from each other. I liked learning about both sides of my heritage. Besides – why combine the two holidays into one if it means you get fewer presents?

The reason Chrismukkah bothers me is that it wasn’t something interfaith families came up with on their own, it was something created by TV executives and marketers in an attempt not to fill a genuine societal need but to sell products to an emerging percentage of the population. Most people who have heard of Chrismukkah know it from the (now-cancelled) TV show The OC, where Adam Brody played Seth Cohen, the son of a Jewish father and Christian mother. Chrismukkah was, like many things on that show (I mean you, "Califoooooooornia" theme song), cute for about five minutes. But after a few too many Santa hat kippot and Star-of-David-printed stockings, it got annoying. Rather than combining two things into something even better – chocolate and peanut butter, for example, or The Real World/Road Rules Challenge – Chrismukkah makes both holidays worse. It waters down both holidays into mindless kitsch and accessories. It takes the Christ out of Christmas and the Maccabees out of Hanukkah, to the benefit of neither holiday.

Chrismukkah is something that had potential to be funny or clever but instead got beaten into the ground by people eager to make it "trendy," and, more specifically, make money off of it. After all, if Christmas is the biggest shopping season of the year, imagine what would happen if you combined Christmas with another holiday? Talk about a publicist’s wet dream. Not only can they send their "please include us in your gift guide!!1!" emails to all the Christians, now they can send their Chrismukkah pitches to Christians and Jews.

Well, here’s an unsolicited piece of advice: stop sending me any email that contains the word "Chrismukkah" in the title. Currently, I delete all of them without opening them, although I occasionally open one just to make fun of it. Between Administrative Professionals’ Day and Valentine’s Day, I have enough manufactured holidays to observe. My calendar – and my inbox – are full. At least until PurEasterOver.

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