To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Why don’t we capitalize off of Chanukah more?

Every winter, you can’t go two feet without hearing Christmas music or seeing Christmas decorations. As soon as Thanksgiving ends, it’s a free-for-all of holiday joy. It’s annoying and tacky and superfluous and I want to know why I can’t be part of it! Why don’t we capitalize off of Chanukah more? Is it because no one can figure out how to spell it?


I’m aware that there are significantly more people who celebrate Christmas in the United States than there are people who celebrate Chanukah. There are over 300 million people living in the U.S. and only about six million of them are Jewish. I get it, we’re a small percentage. But, I’d like to think we’re a rather passionate percentage. 


Target—oh, beloved Target—puts out a modest Chanukah display every year, and basically every Jewish person I know is always over the moon about it. Every single Jewish person I know has at least one decoration from Target. I currently have four in my Ziv. (Quick pause to say that this is not sponsored by Target, but I wish it was.) Why don’t other stores take advantage of this relatively untapped market? Jewish people are only about two percent of this country’s population, so I don’t need a whole lot. Businesses can’t go too crazy or else their goods won’t sell. But, six million is a hefty number; that is a lot of missed revenue! 


There are endless ways to “celebrate” Christmas without actually doing anything religious. At this point, it’s so integrated into American culture that even I can’t avoid it. Christmas music plays on the radio stations and in stores all throughout December. The Hallmark and Lifetime channels suddenly become popular again. Wreaths and/or lights adorn basically every storefront. Ugly sweaters start to be worn again, covered in snow and trees and reindeer. It’s super annoying every year, especially because I can’t really engage with any of it. 


There are maybe two popular Chanukah songs: “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and the Adam Sandler one. Do they ever get played on the radio? No. There is the occasional Chanukah movie, but the only valid one is the ever iconic 2003 film, “Full Court Miracle.” So where’s my holiday rom com? Maybe I want a cheesy movie about two rival bakeries selling jelly doughnuts on Chanukah, or something equally as stupid and heartwarming. Decorations are few and far between, with Target really being my main source of goods. I do have several ugly sweaters from Target (and the Brandeis bookstore!)—which I tragically left at home this year—but the lack of variety is always disappointing. 


Maybe it’s because Santa always skipped my house, but I’m always a bit of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas. It’s like one big inside joke that I’m never going to be in on. I know this is a personal thing—and that plenty of Jewish people love Christmas. But maybe we’d love it even more if we could have a little fun as well.

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