Here’s a holiday message courtesy of Madge Stein Woods that explains the differences between Christmas and Chanukah. Or Hanukkah.
Hope you enjoy as much as I did! Feel free to embellish and add your observations about these two holidays, as well as our other great December days, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice.
Just in case anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and
Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer.
1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also love
December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to the movies and out
for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the
evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure.
Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend 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 Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida )
or other Jewish funeral homes.
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2. 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
3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos, etc.
Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks or the collected works
of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.
4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell
Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.
5. Christmas is a 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 Hanukah.
6. 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 the energy crisis.
7. 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 hora. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the
beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don’t
Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?
8. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful – like the sweet smell of
cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered 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.
9. Christian women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women burn
their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on
Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.
10. Parents deliver presents to their children during Christmas. Jewish
parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights.
11. 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 friends anything and they believe we are
wonderfully versed in our history.
12. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, “Yossela,
Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t sleep with her,
and now you want to blame G-d? Here’s the number of my shrink.”
13. In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The
same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes
sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about
celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27
hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your
sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200
per person. Better stick with Chanukah.
This explains a lot.
Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.