It’s that time of year again. The lights are starting to go up on trees and houses, the music is beginning to blare from the radio and there’s a general cheerful mood that one wouldn’t usually come across any other time of the year. That’s right, the holiday season is upon us.
As soon as Thanksgiving ends, it’s officially holiday time, and anything remotely related to the celebration of Christmas is fair game. I say Christmas because let’s face it, most of the music played on the radio are Christmas songs, that is, except for Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song.” Also, there are an abundance of countdowns to Christmas Day, like “25 days of Christmas” on the ABC Family channel, which plays a different Christmas movie everyday from Dec. 1-25, and, the majority of the holiday commercials on TV are clearly geared toward Christmas festivities.
Yes, I understand how much fun it must be to decorate a Christmas tree and set out milk and cookies for the big guy, but there are other religions and holidays in this world, too. It’s true that far fewer people celebrate Chanukah and Kwanzaa and, I have to admit, whenever Santa would come riding through my neighborhood on a fire truck around Christmas Eve, I always felt slighted. My neighbors would run out of their houses amid the deafening wail of the siren to wave to Santa, and I would stay inside of my house and think, “What about all of the Jewish kids? What is there for us?” Even though only less than two percent of the United States is Jewish, don’t we still count?
Sure there was the Saturday Night Live fabrication of “Chanukah Harry” played by Jon Lovitz, and some people have a Chanukah bush, which is the Jewish version of the Christmas tree. However, try as we might, absolutely nothing can compete with the ever growing collection of Christmas music. It’s amazing how this one holiday can basically monopolize every single part of American culture for an entire month. It’s ironic that one of the most famous Christmas songs – you know, the one that begins “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” – was written by a Jew. Even those who aren’t of the Christian persuasion want to celebrate. What little Jewish kid didn’t want a Christmas tree when they were growing up? I know I certainly did.
Out of 4,600 undergraduates at UR, 750, or 16 percent, are Jewish. Although UR is listed as 29th out of the 30 largest Jewish populations among private schools in the country, I still feel as if I’m surrounded by Christmas on campus. Now I enjoy a good Christmas movie just as much as the next person, but I think that most Christians believe that we live in a Christian world and the assumption is that everyone is Christian. I was out shopping the other day when the woman in front of me finished paying for her purchases turned around to the rest of the customers waiting in line and said, “Merry Christmas.” When in doubt, and sometimes doubt is a good thing, just say: “Happy Holidays” instead.
Weintraub is a member of the class of 2008