Tis’ the Season
There’s nothing like sitting around the table after lighting the menorah, eating latkas and spinning the dreidel with family and friends. Singing songs like Al Hanisim, I Have a Little Dreidel, Chanukah Oy Chanukah really get you into the Jewish spirit. Then, as you walk outside, you’re greeted by all of your neighbours lights. The thing is, unless you live in a strictly Jewish community, you might notice that their lights are a little bigger than yours are. They’re brighter, more colourful, more creative, and sometimes last for weeks instead of eight days. You step into the mall, and you’re greeted with decorations, festive music, and a cheerful, if frantic mood. Turn on the TV (or don’t, whatever), and every channel is filled with special programs, like Miracle on 34th Street, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The goyim have taken their holiday, and gone completely overboard.
But you know what? I love it.
Of course I feel bad, and it may be slightly or completely sacrilegious, but that doesn’t mean that every second of it isn’t enjoyable. There’s a genuinely positive atmosphere this time of the year, full of sugar and spice and everything nice. I can’t be the only one who is jealous of those bratty Christian kids who get to sit on Santa’s lap. Sure, the lines all look really long, but Santa has something about him that many of our bearded leaders seem to lack. There are times during the year when we work on our commitment and ability to perform as Jews, but they have this entire “season” where everyone works hard to be kind to others, where they show warmth to all those around. And then, I’m hit by my biggest weakness, and what I believe fuels the range of feelings that grip me during December. I begin to hear what encapsulates this whole time of year: the lovely sound of Christmas music.
It could be for money (it’s probably for money), every major Christian artist tries their hardest to either compose or cover songs that are both top in quality and ability to bring out emotion. It doesn’t matter though, because the music is honestly that good. Few Jewish songs are universally loved to the extent that they would have Christmas music level of “replayability,” and of those, they don’t have as many different versions or been perfected as every popular holiday song seems to be. Jingle Bell Rock, Little St. Nick, It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is You, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, among many, many others put a smile on face and a bounce in my step every time I hear them.
I don’t regularly like listening to any music, regardless of Jewish or Goyish, but Christmas music has a special effect on me. It makes me feel like a little Christian boy, waking up on Christmas morning, opening my Christmas presents underneath my giant Christmas tree, drinking eggnog with family and friends. And then, I accidentally touch my kippa as I move my hand to scratch an itch on my head. Well, I guess Chanukah’s not too bad either.