Christmas vs. Hannukah

There are many misconceptions about the differences between Christmas and Chanukah. This should clear them up!

*1. Christmas is one day, same day, every year: December 25th. Jews also love December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to the movies and out for Chinese food.

2. Chanukah is eight days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that is. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jew asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Jewish funeral home.

3. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.

**4. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos. Jews get practical presents such as underwear or socks.

***5. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.

6. Christmas is at time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

7. Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to an energy crisis.

****8. Christmas carols are beautiful: Silent Night, Come All Ye Faithful. Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by Jews. And don’t Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

9. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful. The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people gather around in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes, and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

10. Women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes.

11. Parents deliver to their children on Christmas. Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights

12. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our gentile friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

13. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think “Joseph, Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t sleep with her, and now you want to blame God. Here’s the number of my shrink.”

* Well, my family spends Dec 25th in the Caribbean, so it’s a little more special for me.
** This isn’t true in my experience
*** Well…there is the spelling Xmas, but that doesn’t really count, because it’s an abbreviation and not an alternate spelling. All the Hannukah spellings are attempts to phonetically translate the Hebrew letters into Roman letters.
**** This list was clearly written prior to Adam Sandler and South Park. And Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary penned a serious song entitled, “Light One Candle” which is quite beautiful.

0 thoughts on “Christmas vs. Hannukah

  1. DL

    Thanks for the list, John. No easy way to translate between cultures, just as there is no easy way to translate between tongues (languages).

    Another important difference between Hannukah and Xmas… Xinanity is a religion of egoism, reigning supreme, stressing that every man can save himself by merest belief… but Jews know miracles are impersonal, to save and serve the community itself and only incidentally the individual persons therein.

    Hence, we all got the lights of Hannukah, as a gift by stretching out one day’s oil across 8 days (or nights, if you will). Talk about thrifty! Talk about a deal! Have I got one for you! Enjoy your trip, but be sure to pack some latka!