“X” Hatin’ On Xmas

santa hatesThough I’m not advocating its wear for anybody, I suppose this is the T-Shirt of the Week, from — where else? — T-Shirt Hell.

The outlaw part of me snickers at this one for its cheeky self-insulating humor — “No one can insult me if I bring the bar down low enough myself” — but as a Jewish mother I would be horrified for my kids to see say, their hipster uncle wearing this. Even though they seem to grok that this time of year is not about some Chanukah vs. Christmas smackdown, St. Nick extinguishing Chanukah candles with urine is an image I’d prefer not to have burned on their impressionable little brains (along with news footage of Iraq, animal cruelty and Britney Spears’ labia.)

Man, I don’t want to fight a war on Christmas. After last year’s Santa and the Snake tsursis, I vowed to meet the “overwhelment” (a term coined by an fascinating book called The Law of Attraction) of Christian culture with positive Jewish messages to show my kids that while we are a minority (and on the geographic and cultural outskirts of the minority at that), we have so much and so many ways to celebrate who we are and from where we came. I am also trying gently to instill the idea that we owe it to our ancestors to inform others about our Jewishness proudly without acting defensive or entitled. Which translates into training the boy not to spit out snottily “We’re Jewish!” when some well-meaning store clerk mentions the S-man.

For the most part, the kids are too busy helping me create our own awesome holiday to wonder why don’t have an 8-foot Frosty the Snowman in our front yard. We hosted a Chanukah gathering a few nights ago for a few non-Jewish families who expressed interest in “learning about our rituals,” and though they looked a little nervous when we chanted the prayers (El Yenta Man told them that this was the part where we sacrifice a Christian child; such a sicko, that guy) it turned into a lovely party of wine-laden philosophic musings and an epic dreidel tournament presided over the warm glow of the menorahs. Even though one of the neighbor children kept asking “Where’s the black candle?” My son rolled his eyes and was all, “Totally different holiday, dude.

Ideally, my children’s Jewish identity will be rooted in sharing our celebrations with Jews and non-Jews, and may our non-Jewish friends share their rituals with us. Yesterday’s JPost ran a terrific column by Wendy Mogel called Why Can’t David and Rachel Enjoy the Christmas Glitz? that wonders that what it would be like if instead of trying to keep Christmas from infecting our Jewish kids, we relaxed and made gingerbread houses and drove around looking at lights.

Who knows? Maybe we’d all learn to laugh at a drawing of Santa pissing on a menorah.

BTW, posting may be slow for the rest of the week. Because I feel compelled to practice what I preach and I’m a mother martyr of the highest degree, I’m making latkes for 30 first graders for the school holiday party tomorrow and it may take several days for my burn-spattered hands to recover typing capabilities. Happy Chanukah, y’all!

6 thoughts on ““X” Hatin’ On Xmas

  1. Kudos on hosting non-Jewish friends. My only Chanukah invite was fun although I incurred evil glares from the interfaith couple from down the street for not donning a yarmulke. I’ll do better next time as I no longer fear it could transform me into anything weirder than I already am.

    Most of us are never exposed to your faith or culture. A little education can cure a lot of ignorance. Enlighten a Christian by mentioning Jesus was an observant Jew, as were Peter, Paul and Mary (Biblical… I’m not sure about the singers). When we learn about our Jewish friends, we are learning about the life of Jesus. Be prepared to get wore out with questions, and you may need a bigger table for Shabbos. Thank goodness for websites like: Chabad.org, Hebrew4Christians.com and Messianicminutes.com.

    Leave me a latke when you run off with my baby Jesus.

  2. Which translates into training the boy not to spit out snottily “We’re Jewish!” when some well-meaning store clerk mentions the S-man.

    If you are successful at this can you please share how you did it? Mine not only proudly exclaims, “We’re Jewish!” but proceeds to tell everyone that Santa isn’t real. Oy.

    You and your baby Jesus (or did you figure the plural was Jesui?) – I will never be able to look at one again without thinking of you. If you need hints on how to mass produce latkes, I’m your gal.

    Chag Sameach.

  3. Ricky’s friend ~ you’re hilarious. I’ll leave you ten latkes on a cloth diaper in exchange for your Blessed savior baby. Dunno about Paul and Mary, but folkie singer Peter Yarrow now exclusively produces Jewish music!

    Orienyenta ~ Imagine a beige minivan missing a hubcap stalking neighborhoods with a trunk full of Jesusi…I read your “Night of 1000 Latkes” – you have me beat, ’cause I think I only did 500 today, but I never want to see another spatula again!

  4. I once heard that Christmas was a good time to remind us that we are strangers in a stranger’s land. I think that’s perfect. Also, I think adding Christian tradions to Chanukah is a bit reminicent of the Hellenistic Jews.
    One more thing, watch out for the first poster, Ricky’s friend, he or she may be a missionary. The last website’s stated purpose is “a five-minute daily radio program (with seasonal 1/2 hour specials) aimed at bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people through Bible-believing Christian listeners.”

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