I find myself running around today singing “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”. And with 6 inches of snow on the ground in Chicago, Bing Crosby’s (above) White Christmas is at the top of my list, too.
As my son says “you’re not even Christian.” But that doesn’t stop me from craving Santa shaped sugar cookies and cinnamon potpourris this time of year either.
Why? Because I grew up in the United States. And while Christmas clearly carries deep religious significance for many, it also has a dramatic and central role in American popular culture. It’s still a fantastic day with no work and a time to spend with family. Who doesn’t want that?
So, next time someone expresses surprise at my “Jewish” nostalgia for Christmas past, perhaps I’ll just say “oh, I’m celebrating the Japanese version of Christmas!
Egg Nog, anyone?
What are you doing tonight and tomorrow? Is it typically “American?” What are the parts that strike you as such?
Amen! We Jews helped create modern Christmas, and we’re gonna enjoy it! Really, many of our yuletide traditions were borrowed from pagans in the first place, so who actually “owns” them? And how do modern joys like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” belong to any church?
Jewish jazz singer and music historian Michael Feinstein sheds some holiday light on the issue in this op-ed column from last week’s New York Times: “Whose Christmas Is It?” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/opinion/18feinstein.html)
– Marc Singer
Thanks, Marc, and thanks for sharing the link to Feinstein’s OpEd in the New York Times.
Definitely his thought that “It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that the sugarplums, holly and mistletoe all tap into a sense of comfort, longing, security and peace that so many fervently desire; that we all wish the clichés were true,” captures the sentiment.
And I like his closing as well, “As Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists and everything in between, we are all more alike than we are different. That’s something to celebrate.”
Something to continue to work toward in the new (since September?) year as well. Happy New Year!