(First appeared December 3, 2004)
I do not like the holiday season, and I do not like the fact that it is called "the holiday season." Who are we kidding, please? This is the Christmas season. Our holiday season is in Tishrei. Calling December the holiday season is a wee bit condecending, I think, when the only non-Christian holiday in sight is Chanukkah, a minor, no-account, little festival. Suppose we were the big, bad majority, and we declared Tishrei the American Holiday Season on the grounds that it contains Rosh Hashona, Yom Kippur, Sukkos and also Columbus Day. Do you think the gentiles might be peeved?
Chanuka is more our Columbus Day than our Christmas. We light some candles, and sing some songs. Big Whoops. As an observance this pales next to our real holidays, like the High Holy Days, Passover, Sukkot, even Purim. So it bothers me just a little that the non-Jews deign to notice us (and to congratulate themselves for noticing us) only when they are celebrating something themselves.
And the next non-Jewish person who says, "oh, you get eight nights of presents," gets hit.
Our good friends at Slate ran a story several years ago that explains how Chanuka became "the Jewish Christmas"? It's worth a second look.