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A Gentile's Guide to Jewish Christmas

What is this “Hanukkah” I keep hearing about? Pictured: Jewish Christmas Candle Thing

Hanukkah (which is Hebrew for ‘Christmas’), is a Jewish holiday which takes place sometime between October and February, celebrating the Jews discovering fire. They were so proud of this discovery that they decided to show off for over a week by lighting candles every night. But once they realized that Christmas was a thing, they knew they had to step up their game because there was no way that candles could compete with flying deer and bringing dirty trees into the living room. They evened the score by adding presents, food, games, and uncomfortable family conversations, essentially making it a drawn out version of Christmas.

How is it celebrated?

Presents! Technically there is nothing in Jewish law that says that you should exchange gifts for Hanukkah, but there is also nothing that says gifts should be exchanged for Christmas (Happy birthday, Jesus! I didn’t buy you a present but I bought myself an iPhone!). To up the ante, they made their holiday last 8 days, though made the gift giving a more modest affair (Happy invention of fire, Jews! You can’t have 8 new iPhones though!). Presents typically run the gamut from wool underwear to hand-me-down copies of Mel Brooks films. Another fun part of Hanukkah is what I like to call the “Las Vegas” aspect because it involves games and money. Literally gambling for chocolate money. I want to make fun of this but it’s actually such a brilliant idea that I just may convert. Spinning dreidels and nomming on gelt are to Hanukkah what children’s Nativity pageants and fruitcake are to Christmas; confusing and they leave a bad taste in your mouth.

How can I pretend to show that I care?

Moses?  Is that you?

There are lots of ways in which those of other faiths have supported the Jews throughout the years.  Modern ways to espouse Judaism during fake Christmas include:

- Eating Chinese food and marathoning Woody Allen movies

- Peppering your everyday conversations with words like “bubbe,” “kosher,” “mitzvah,” and “circumcision”

- Going Hanukkah caroling for 8 straight nights

- Aggressively wishing store clerks “happy holidays”

- Replacing store Santa hats with yarmulkes

- Creating a menorah using shots of fireball whiskey instead of candles

- Pretending to accept Hanukkah bushes as a legitimate thing

It’s decorative gourd season motherfucker  the most wonderful time of the year  a legitimate holiday the Jews' time to shine, so be sure to respectfully and appropriately support your curly haired friends in their celebrations this season. And if that doesn’t work, move to a state like Indiana where you won’t encounter any Jews to accidentally offend.

(co-authored by ParrtyCat and her canine companion)

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