How to Explain Christmas to Your Jewish Children

When I was growing up, I had the best of both worlds during the winter holiday time. My family celebrated Hanukah at our home with the menorah, chocolate gelt and eight days of presents. I only had to walk over to my best friend’s house across the street to bake Christmas cookies, help decorate their tree and count how many candy canes I could eat before feeling sick. I think it was around 3.

While my children have plenty of Christmas celebrating friends, unfortunately none live across the street and my kids miss out on all the fun Christmas traditions. Being that I can’t exactly shield them from knowing all the delights Christmas that has to offer, in order to help them feel less badly about not partaking in the festivities themselves, I’ve decided to explain Christmas to them in my own way:

Santa Claus is a man who never changes his clothes and comes into people’s homes without knocking. He takes their cookies and makes a mess of their fireplaces.

Do you think Santa Claus pays the elves that make all the Christmas gifts? Do they even get healthcare? Doesn’t seem fair to me. Does it seem fair to you?

Yes, the Christmas lights and decorations are very pretty on our neighbors’ homes. Unfortunately many people have gotten hurt putting up and taking down all those lights. Oh look, here’s a folder of all the cases I found online of people getting hurt. Do you think Dad and I should put ourselves in danger just to make our house look pretty for a month? No, I didn’t think so.

The elf on a shelf is a tattletale. If you step out of line just once, you don’t get any presents for Christmas. Just a lump of coal. And not eight lumps. Just one.

For Christmas you have to build a house out of icing and gingerbread and gumdrops, and then you can’t even eat it right away. That’s just weird. I prefer to eat yummy food right away, how about you?

Let’s watch cable news. What a surprise, a segment about The War on Christmas. I’d rather not be involved in a war. Hanukah is a quiet little holiday no one cares about and that’s the way it should be.

Now, you might be thinking that these are cruel and mean ways to get my kids uninterested in Christmas. You might even be right, but don’t worry. Jewish moms require their children to have a quota of angst over the years in order to adequately guilt trip them for the rest of their lives.*

*I’m kidding, of course. Well…sorta.

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