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Happy Jewish Christmas, Ricochet!

As you know, it is our annual custom on Ricochet to celebrate a traditional Jewish Christmas. Why a traditional Jewish Christmas? For the same reason that—God forbid–should you need to go to the emergency room today, the odds are high that you will be treated by a nice, sober Jewish doctor. (So be sure to wear your best undies, ladies, just in case!)

Of course, on Ricochet we welcome everyone of any faith, creed or color, so long as he’s on the right side of the political spectrum and he’s not an annoying troll. So today we’ll also be celebrating Druze, Rastafarian, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Bahá’í, Shinto, Zoroastrian, Manichaeian, Bábist, Confucian, Muslim, Taoist, Wicca, Druid, Santeria, Falun Gong, and plain old Godless Christmas, as well as lonely Christians without anywhere to go on Christmas Christmas, Christians who just have to get away from their in-laws for a few minutes or they’re going to lose it Christmas, not to mention Armenian Christian Christmas, because Armenian Christians don’t celebrate Christmas today. (Later today, we’ll celebrate Armenian Christmas by recognizing the Armenian genocide.)

So please, share your faith’s special Christmas traditions, especially if they involve getting all lathered up at the sight of some shmendrick wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt. Because really, that’s what Ricochet’s all about, whatever your faith.

Merry Christmas to all!

  1. Heshmon

    Happy Jewish Christmas!

    Loved the clip – especially the “Oi to the Voild” at the end. :-)

  2. Bluenoser

    Happy Jewish Christmas to you as well Claire.  I, of course, will be celebrating Secular Christmas today.  In a few minutes I’ll be waking my 3 year old up and packing him in the 4 wheel open sleigh (Mazda 3) to drive across town and pick up my wife from work (She’s and RN) at the hospital.  Then, we’ll all come home and do the “Santa” / “gift” thing.

    Then, the real fun begins, me and the little guy have to clear out and find a way to occupy ourselves on Christmas Day so the missus can get some needed and deserved sleep before I wake her up too early so we can all go my parent’s house for an early supper, so I can get her back to the hospital for her shift tonight.

    Tomorrow we all go to her parent’s house she gets no sleep for that trip.  My dear wife sacrifices too much for us this time of year.   My… how I love her.

    Have a great day Ricochet.

  3. Sandy

    I’m in Florence (the one in Italy)  helping my daughter with her new baby.  Traditions?  When you have sons-and-daughters-in-law, everything can change.  The other night, with the help of my Iranian son-in-law, we celebrated shab-e-yaldo, a pre-Islamic solstice holiday, by eating  his wonderful Persian cooking and a hearing him read from Hafez.  The children received little gifts, which I think was done mainly because they are surrounded by classmates who will receive many gifts today.  Last night we gorged on the latkes I made, and today my 6-year-old twin granddaughters and I watched as two men dressed in old-fashioned cloaks and hats came down the street playing wonderful slow, almost mournful old tunes on their ancient-looking bagpipes and collecting donations in their baskets.  It’s sunny and cold here and later we’ll go to the park where we will no doubt see other children with their grandparents.

    Happy Holidays, Y’all, and May 2012 bring the blessings we so richly need.

  4. outstripp

    Jewish Xmas sounds a lot more exciting than Buddhist Xmas, although Santa’s helpers at the mall today (here in Chiangmai) were probably cuter.

  5. Midget Faded Rattlesnake

    My favorite line:

    “Let us praise the Gentile’s all-time favorite Jewish boy.”

    We engage in the time-honored Christmas ritual of quarreling over stuff that any sane family wouldn’t. Like whether we actually get to play Christmas carols on the record player (duh, it’s Christmas) and whether I’m shirking my duties as a good daughter by going to the Christmas Eve service instead of cleaning up after Christmas dinner (which we have on Christmas Eve). Good times…

  6. Macsen

    I’m off to the Italian neighbor’s house for some goodies.  A holiday is a holiday…

  7. Alan Weick

    I cracked up at the take-out Chinese pic and had a jolly Ho Ho Ho with the video.  As I am Jewish and my wife is Chinese (converted to Judaism) we, are of course, going to Christmas dinner today with our group of American/Chinese mixed families some of whom are Jewish and some of whom are Christian and some of whom are just plain Chinese (now doesn’t that sound strange?).  What gets to me is that this is not so much a religious get together but a purely American one. 

    Merry Christmas and Hag Sameach to all!

  8. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    It was a big issue in our house: My father was completely willing to go with the Chanukah Bush and the eight-days-of-Chanukah means eight-days-of-presents routine, but my mother found this completely offensive.

    I wonder… in how many families is being offended for the holidays the most sacred tradition of all? (Not saying anything against your dear, sweet mother, Claire. Mostly reflecting on my own upbringing.)

    Also, I didn’t know what a Chanukah bush looked like (thought maybe it’d be cleverly rigged to shoot flames or something, a la Moses’ burning bush). So I googled it. Imagine my amazement when the first thing I saw was thong underwear. Eewww…

    I know you told us ladies to wear our nice undies, but that’s taking it a bit far, innit?

  9. Wylee Coyote
    Bluenoser Everyone lost trying to make it work around my wife’s schedule, she having lost the most, I feel so bad for her. It was just a total Cluster Fudge of Christmas.  · Dec 25 at 3:26pm

    Ouch, I’m very sorry to hear that, Blue. When I read your earlier description of your wife’s day, I could just feel the sleep deprivation.  Still, it sounds like you guys made a valiant effort.

    I’m afraid I won’t be much help, unfortunately.  The reason I can get away with moving Christmas is because my family unit is pretty small.  It’s down to me, Dad, and my sister, and there aren’t any kids involved.  Because the Department has a policy that nobody can take leave between Dec. 15th and New Years’, they both have to travel to me.  If there were kids or extended family involved, it’d be much stickier.  I’d probably have to be absent Christmas morning, and have a special “Encore Christmas Featuring Uncle Wylee” a few days later.

  10. Wylee Coyote
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake Thanks for your service, Wylee. And Merry Christmas! · Dec 25 at 11:18pm

    Thank you, Midge!  And a Merry Christmas to you too!  :)

  11. Robert Promm

    Just a pedant’s observation…

    It’s nice to be inclusive and all.  However, why do we find it so necessary to pollute the scared days of religions?  I, for the life of me, can’t imagine a Christian Ramadan or a Muslim Hanukkah.  Further, why would I want to and what benefit arises from these oxymoronic couplings?

    I am perfectly happy to wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah or give a passing reference to a Muslim Ramadan (if I knew when it was).  However, I feel no loss in not being included in their festivities.

  12. Bluenoser

    On Friday there was some discussion about doing the “Christmas Morning”/ Santa gig a day early. No reason we couldn’t, we were 100% ready and the little guy’s 3.5 he wouldn’t have known the difference. In retrospect, wish we had done it. But, live and learn.

  13. Valiuth

    Robert I think the thing is that when you are in a minority, you might feel a bit isolated when everyone is taking part of a holiday that you don’t feel part of.  So I get it. 90% of Americans are all celebrating Christmas, people want to belong but they lack the religious motivations for the holiday, but the secular reasons still exist. So you get these different Christmas celebrations. This does not happen with less secular holidays like Easter. 

  14. Bluenoser
    Wylee Coyote: I’m celebrating Police Christmas:  just woke up, off to work for the evening shift.  Last night I rang in Our Lord’s birthday by dragging a combative drunk across the back seat of the patrol car so my sergeant could close the door without getting kicked (again).  The family’s in town and we will celebrate together and open presents on the 27th.  They’re so patient with me.

    In deference to Jewish Christmas, I will have Chinese takeout tonight.  Mazel tov!  :)

    A Merry Christmas to all, whether you celebrate it or not.  And behave yourselves out there.  >:) · Dec 25 at 11:01am

    Wylee,

    Do you have any children involved in moving your celebrations out to the 27th?  If so does it work well.  My family is going to need a better plan the next time we’re in a situation like this year.  Everyone lost trying to make it work around my wife’s schedule, she having lost the most, I feel so bad for her. It was just a total Cluster Fudge of Christmas. 

  15. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Robert Promm: Just a pedant’s observation…

    It’s nice to be inclusive and all.  However, why do we find it so necessary to pollute the scared days of religions?  I, for the life of me, can’t imagine a Christian Ramadan or a Muslim Hanukkah.  Further, why would I want to and what benefit arises from these oxymoronic couplings?

    I am perfectly happy to wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah or give a passing reference to a Muslim Ramadan (if I knew when it was).  However, I feel no loss in not being included in their festivities. · Dec 25 at 12:47pm

    Well, two choices: We make Mollie and Diane work on Christmas, or I post about the Turkish current account deficit on Christmas, which isn’t exactly going to resonate with most of our readers today now, is it? 

    So, I better get into Christmas as best I can. It’s easier if you’re an emergency room physician, I guess. An EKG, a prescription for antacids, and a curt “Happy holidays” are all the customer really needs. Job description says nothing about “being relevant to what people are thinking about.”

  16. Caryn

    Re Robert Promm & Valiuth

    I don’t have any problem being a religious minority, unless the majority is trying to kill me (a not uncommon part of our minority’s past, actually).  I don’t care to be part of the big holiday “everyone else” is celebrating and don’t at all envy it (especially the mandatory gift giving).  I positively hate going near a mall this time of year and am a little tired of the music. 

    On the other hand, I’m perfectly happy to have y’all enjoying yourselves around me.  I’m happy for your happiness.  We have our own very meaningful holidays and, while it’s nice when people in the majority take an interest, it’s really not necessary either.  I’m actually a bit uncomfortable having menorahs all over the place as a talisman to protect the decorated tree or creche.  I’d rather Christmas were celebrated fully by Christians.  I really don’t need to be included. 

    Where did this odd, insecure idea originate?  My guess is it came from secular Jews trying to explain the specialness of Judaism to their kids, and failing (not knowing themselves).  Best defense: offense! 

    Ideas?

  17. Wylee Coyote

    I’m celebrating Police Christmas:  just woke up, off to work for the evening shift.  Last night I rang in Our Lord’s birthday by dragging a combative drunk across the back seat of the patrol car so my sergeant could close the door without getting kicked (again).  The family’s in town and we will celebrate together and open presents on the 27th.  They’re so patient with me.

    In deference to Jewish Christmas, I will have Chinese takeout tonight.  Mazel tov!  :)

    A Merry Christmas to all, whether you celebrate it or not.  And behave yourselves out there.  >:)

  18. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Bluenoser

    My family is going to need a better plan the next time we’re in a situation like this year.  Everyone lost trying to make it work around my wife’s schedule, she having lost the most, I feel so bad for her. It was just a total Cluster Fudge of Christmas. 

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Blue.

    We had that happen one year. Mom had had an accident and was still recovering from surgery, and asked me to persuade the rest of the family to move the festivities until after New Year’s. Which I thought I had done, so hubs and I were actually out of town visiting his family on Christmas Eve. But at the last minute, Aged Relative (who’s not Christian and who usually hates Christmas anyhow) decreed that Christmas wasn’t Christmas unless it was celebrated on Dec 24th (that apparently being the only date on which it’s appropriate to have the Phonograph War where one half of the family tries to play Christmas carols and the other half keeps replacing the carols with cool jazz, Johnny Cash, and lewd French drinking songs.) Unbeknownst to me, everyone else capitulated to him and blamed me for upsetting the family’s time-honored traditions.

    There were no small children involved in our fiasco, just one (rather mature) teen, who I’m sure hadn’t much say in the matter.

    You can always tell small children that Santa’s going to make a special trip just for them, and celebrating your own family’s Christmas on a different date opens the rare and wonderful opportunity for children to participate in their best friends’ family’s Christmas celebrations, if their best friends are still in town. (Plus, if you’re a liturgical Christian, Christmas celebrations are supposed to last 12 days anyhow.) But adults can be another story. So… was it really the kids who were upset, or were adult relatives using “the children” as bargaining chips because their habits were being upset? (I’m not saying that it had to be this way, just that it’s a good question to ask, as these difficulties arise even when children aren’t involved.)

  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Wylee Coyote: I’m celebrating Police Christmas:  just woke up, off to work for the evening shift.  Last night I rang in Our Lord’s birthday by dragging a combative drunk across the back seat of the patrol car so my sergeant could close the door without getting kicked (again).  The family’s in town and we will celebrate together and open presents on the 27th.  They’re so patient with me.

    In deference to Jewish Christmas, I will have Chinese takeout tonight.  Mazel tov!  :)

    A Merry Christmas to all, whether you celebrate it or not.  And behave yourselves out there.  >:)

    Thanks for your service, Wylee. And Merry Christmas!

  20. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Caryn: 

    Where did this odd, insecure idea originate?  My guess is it came from secular Jews trying to explain the specialness of Judaism to their kids, and failing (not knowing themselves).  Best defense: offense! 

    Ideas? · Dec 25 at 9:31pm

    I’ll tell you exactly where. It comes from Jewish kids begging to have a Christmas tree and decorations and presents like all the other kids, because that stuff looks so fun to a four-year-old, and there is just no way plausibly to explain to a four-year-old that on the other hand, our religion is older and our God is so mean that he doesn’t like Christmas trees and doesn’t want kids to have presents like the other kids. 

    It was a big issue in our house: My father was completely willing to go with the Chanukah Bush and the eight-days-of-Chanukah means eight-days-of-presents routine, but my mother found this completely offensive. 

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