So shoot me – I’m a Jewish gal who loves everything Christmas. I have no idea where it comes from – although I do recall my mother loving the movie Miracle on 34th Street – but over the years this affinity for the entire holiday season has certainly grown (possibly an obsession?) I know we all talk about how commercialized (aka – terrible) Christmas has gotten, and all the Hallmark movies have to remind everyone that the “true” spirit of the holiday season is NOT about the gifts – but let’s face it – the gifts are a HUGE part of it
What is it about Christmas that is just so darn appealing? Let’s break it down a bit:
Christmas Check List:
– 3 week vacation from school (yay college!)
– Presents from everyone
– Yummy treats all month long (starting Thanksgiving – you’re in non stop holiday mode)
– Parties galore
– Special holiday clothes
– A gorgeous Christmas tree all decorated
– Decorated houses
– Big family dinner
– Big family breakfast / brunch
– Christmas morning hot chocolate and opening presents
– Christmas Carols!!!
– Special midnight mass (or other Church services that as a Jewish girl, I’m not that aware of )
Then you have some of the more altruistic traditions of the holiday
– Donating gifts to the less fortunate
– Packages / cards sent to soldiers
– Volunteering in soup kitchens / homeless shelters / hospitals
(and others that I’m sure exist)
Then we have the more unbelievable but still wonderful stories that we seem to find in all the holiday movies:
There is some huge catastrophe and with the help of one or two people the whole town is saved, a huge amount of money is raised, the person is healed, and /or the bad guy gets caught and the movie ends with a hug, kiss and a porcelain angel atop the beautifully lit holiday tree.
Sooo, long story short – the entire Christmas season is one big pile of candy dipped in sugar rolled in fluff It’s beautiful, its yummy, it’s delicious (except for fruit cake ich!) and it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach. What’s NOT to like?!
Why do so many Jews love Christmas?
Well, actually, check list aside, I realized there is a deeper reason why I love this season — and why many MANY of my Orthodox Jewish friends feel the same way (although they may not admit it ). Sure, they will tell you they love the snow, or that cozy feeling of sweaters, boots and hot chocolate while listening to “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” but between you and me, I think the real reason we all love Christmas is simply because of the spirit behind it. What every movie tries to bring out and instill in every scrooge, every dad who works too late, every mom who gets stressed over the decorations and forgets to enjoy the family – it’s the TRUE spirit of the holiday that gets all us Jewish people giddy. While the “giving” is a big part of it, I have to say that it’s not all of it.
The spirit of giving is only part of it
It’s a funny thing. We Jewish people – (specifically orthodox ones) – are raised with the notion that the world, while it may look harsh and cruel on the outside, has a spirituality and beauty that can be found even in the darkest of places. For us Jews that’s what we do: we scrub and polish that harsh and dirty coal in order to reveal that beautiful diamond. A world filled with goodness and kindness. Turning our world into a place where people help and give to each other. A world where the poor are fed, the families gather to feast and a world where no child is forgotten about. It’s a utopian society that we wish to achieve – to reveal the holiness that already exists in the world – but can only be seen once we turn on the lights…. (Christmas lights that is 😉
And this is pretty much what happens once a year in our American society – once a year between October and December there is a season of holiday in the air. It can’t be found in the wrapping paper, or on the Christmas Carol radio station, or even in the mall. It’s not something you can touch, see, smell or BUY – it’s simply in the air. Two months where America is uplifted with joy and happiness – spreading cheer to one another – giving to one another – celebrating together in unity – sharing together and reveling in the goodness that can be found in our world even when you might not see it plainly.
The Christmas trees and the carols and the strings of lights – those are just whipped cream and cherries on top of a delectable ice cream sundae — –
So Tis The Season to be jolly baby!!!! Crank up the Christmas carols and go enjoy a nice drive around your block and check out the lit up houses!!!