December 9, 2012, - 2:09 pm

How NOT To Celebrate Chanukah

By Debbie Schlussel

As you know, today is the first day of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. And in anticipation of that, the last few weeks I’ve collected photos of disturbing things I saw of how marketers and retailers (especially Bed Bath and Beyond – “BB&B,” which was founded and is still headed by Jews who know better) are trying to change and destroy the way we Jews observe the holiday. I have tremendous respect for my Christian friends and readers and how they celebrate their holiday. Their Christmas decorations and festivities are beautiful, and I fully support their right to display Nativity scenes on public lands (even if the ACLU, the terrorists’ lobby, doesn’t).

But these decorations are not Chanukah. The beauty of Chanukah is the story of miracles, of religious freedom and spiritual survival after a miraculous victory over those who would destroy the Jewish people, both from without AND within. Our observance of it is simple and modest, and the only thing that can get gaudy and decorative in our observance is the style of the menorah we light and the colors of the candles we use. (Yes, we have parties with decorations, but nothing like this–at least, that’s the way it used to be.) Given that, here’s . . .


* On Chanukah, we don’t have Chanukah Wreaths or Garlands (I shot these photos @ my local BB&B):


* On Chanukah, we don’t have Chanukah trees, bushes, or other central plantings, so we also don’t have or need Chanukah Tree toppers (“Patented” and “As Seen in SkyMall”–also from BB&B):

* And since we don’t have trees, on Chanukah we don’t do ornaments either:

* On Chanukah, we light menorahs (“menorot”), but we don’t light Santa Claus menorahs (I don’t think Santa plays dreidel):

* On Chanukah, we also don’t have Christmas tree menorahs (and this isn’t a kosher menorah because the prongs for the candles are not at a uniform height):

* On Chanukah, we don’t have stockings hanging from the fireplace, hearth, or anywhere else:

* On Chanukah, we make and eat potato pancakes (“latkes”) and jelly donuts (“sufganiyot”), NOT gingerbread houses (I like gingerbread, but it ain’t Chanukah):

* And, finally, since this is the least objectionable, on Chanukah we don’t wear holiday sweaters, though this really isn’t against the Chanukah spirit. Just make ’em less cheesy than this one:

Here is what the true meaning of Chanukah is about:

These Jews risked everything–especially their lives–to celebrate Chanukah in a concentration camp. A Jewish inmate, Rudolf Werner Breslauer, took the photo. Today, far too many Jews not only risk nothing, but they also turn around and forsake everything that Chanukah stands for. The holiday has a specific meaning, as I noted yesterday. It is about the triumph of Jewish spirituality among Jews (and the defeat of those Jews who embraced the kind of stuff shown in the pics above).

For Christmas, these things are great. For Chanukah they are just wrong. Chanukah is Chanukah. It isn’t Christmas, and vice versa. This stuff is everything the Maccabees fought against. It’s defeating the purpose of the holiday to embrace these things. To my fellow Jews, if you are celebrating Chanukah with these, you just don’t know the meaning of the holiday and need to do some research and get a new rabbi.

To my Christian friends, keep doing what you’re doing. We respect your traditions and decorations.

They just aren’t for our holiday.

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64 Responses

I’ve been on both sides of the holidays. I was raised Jewish and all we had was a menorah. But that was back in the 60’s and 70’s, even Christmas was not that glittery.

As an adult I converted to Christianity. Our first Christmas with the kids my husband, who I know was only trying to be sensitive, asked if we should put any Hanukah decorations on the tree. I said of course not, it’s a Christmas tree not a Hanukah tree.

But I also have some friends that celebrate both, so they do have a tree but it’s decorated with Hanukah ornaments and balls. It’s for those that haven’t made up their minds what they want to be. When I was first married (obviously to a non-Jew) I heard Laura Schlessinger on the radio talking about the kids that grew up with 2 different religions in the house and how they would have to make a choice between mom and dad. That stuck with me, and when we had kids, I made a choice so that they wouldn’t have to. It has kept their faith much stronger than if we tried to divide it.

Have a happy and healthy Hanukah!

Robin H on December 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    We celebrate every “Jewish” holiday as Christians. We recognize that Christianity would not exist but for Jewish people. We celebrate our roots.

    Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17 that the Jewish feasts and celebrations were actually a shadow of the things to come through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we may not commemorate these holidays in the traditional biblical sense, but as we discover the significance of each, we will certainly gain a greater knowledge of God’s Word, an improved understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with the Lord.

    Scripture Reference:

    The story of Hanukkah is recorded in the First Book of Maccabees, which is part of the Apocrypha. The Feast of Dedication is mentioned in the New Testament Book of John, chapter 10, verse 22.

    About the Feast of Dedication:

    Prior to the year 165 BC, the Jewish people who dwelled in Judea where living under the rule of the Greek kings of Damascus. During this time Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greco-Syrian king, took control of the Temple in Jerusalem and forced the Jewish people to abandon their worship of God, their holy customs and reading of the Torah, and he made them bow down to the Greek gods. According to the records, this King Antiochus IV defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spilling its blood on the holy scrolls of Scripture.

    As a result of the severe persecution and pagan oppression, a group of four Jewish brothers, led by Judah Maccabee, decided to raise up an army of religious freedom fighters. These men of fierce faith and loyalty to God became known as the Maccabees. The small band of warriors fought for three years with “strength from heaven” until achieving a miraculous victory and deliverance from the Greco-Syrian control.

    After regaining the Temple, it was cleansed by the Maccabees, cleared of all Greek idolatry, and readied for rededicated. The rededication of the Temple to the Lord took place in the year 165 BC, on the 25th day of the Hebrew month called Kislev.

    So Hanukkah received its name, the Feast of Dedication, because it celebrates the Maccabees’ victory over Greek oppression and the rededication of the Temple. But Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, and this is because immediately following the miraculous deliverance, God provided another miracle of provision.

    In the Temple, the eternal flame of God was to be lit at all time as a symbol of God’s presence. But according to tradition, when the Temple was rededicated, there was only enough oil left in the Temple to burn the flame for one day. The rest of the oil had been defiled by the Greeks during their invasion, and it would take a week for new oil to be processed and purified. But at the rededication, the Maccabees went ahead and lit the eternal flame with the remaining supply of oil, and God’s Holy presence caused it to burn miraculously for eight days, until the new sacred oil was ready.

    This is why the feast is also called the Festival of Lights, and why the Hanukkah Menorah is lit for eight consecutive nights of celebration. Jews also commemorate this miracle of oil provision by making oil-rich foods, such as Latkas, an important part of Hanukkah celebrations.

    Jesus and the Feast of Dedication:

    John 10: 22-23 records, “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” (NIV) As a Jew, Jesus most certainly would have participated in the Feast of Dedication.

    The same courageous spirit of the Maccabees who remained faithful to God during intense persecution was passed on to Jesus’ disciples who would all face severe trails because of their faithfulness to Christ. And like the miracle of God’s presence expressed through the eternal flame of God burning for the Maccabees, Jesus became the incarnate, physical expression of God’s presence, the Light of the World, who came to dwell among us and give us the eternal light of God’s life.

    As goes, so goes... on December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Anything to make a buck!

As goes, so goes... on December 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I was raised in a reform Jewish household. We never had extravagant decorations (though some of my neighbors have blue lights decorated outside their house). My sister and I did receive Chanukkah gifts when we were kids. Though that’s not what Channuah is about, my parents and many Jewish parents feel that we should receive Hannukah gifts while our gentile friends receive Christmas gifts.

Matthew on December 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Very interesting post. I would never have known about these details otherwise but for this and your previous post. However, the menorah decorated with a Santa Claus is obviously just plain wrong even to me as a gentile .

DS_ROCKS! on December 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Wow. WTF? I just broke down laughing at this crap. I’m not sure if these are clueless people trying to squeeze an extra couple bucks by peddling Christmas crap to people who wouldn’t buy it, or some sort of phony “equality” decision by upper management fools who feel unnecessarily uncomfortable about having loads of Christmas decorations and wrongheadedly see this as a PC nod to another culture. Either way, not a whole lot of sense here. It all seems like the stuff that would be bought by an overbearing Hyancinth “Bouquet” type who wants to go out of her way to ‘include’ a cousin who’s new wife/husband is Jewish…

And I definitely don’t want to see the crapstorm that comes with the same rock-headed dolt spits out a “Ramadan tree,” or a Muhammad-Santa stocking saying… I don’t know… “coal and bombs for all of the naughty children.” I doubt anybody offended by that would limit their response to a snarky article.

Anyway, happy Chanukah. That’s an amazing photo at the end, those taking time to remember and celebrate a holiday right under the noses of their oppressors.

Brian R. on December 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm


    I thought they were H I L A R I O U S too. I’d be embarrassed to display them.

    Who on earth would buy them?? I am afraid to ask LOL

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 11:49 am

I would agree. Chanukah should be celebrated reverently. Antiochus IV was not Santa Claus.

Worry01 on December 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm


Jews in America during the winter holidays are surrounded by constant reminders they live in a Christian culture.

Nothing wrong with it – for Christians! Jews don’t want to take away from Christians the joy of celebrating the birth of their Savior.

By the same token, Jews mustn’t try to conflate Hanukkah with Christmas and presume they have to be liked by others to be accepted. I wrote in my post last night this exactly the problem Jews have.

As long as Jews seek to assimilate into the majority culture, they will never truly be free! The Maccabees understood that assimilation imperils Jewish survival. Perhaps someday, Jews will finally get it.

Freedom means the right to be yourself, to uphold your faith, practice Judaism and thank G-d the Jewish people still have the privilege of serving Him as their ancestors decided to do thousands of years ago.

There are legitimate ways to celebrate Hanukkah and there are ways no Jew should ever seek to observe it.

NormanF on December 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I’m Catholic, and have the same ornament that is shown above on my tree as a symbol of Christianity’s connection to Judaism and my support for Israel. I didn’t really ever think of it as being for a Chanukah Tree or anything of that nature. Nevertheless, Happy Chanukah!

Erik on December 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm


    I guess you just answered “Who’d buy this crap?” for me.

    I am laughing outloud.

    I hope you wore a veil. Just kidding, really, I guess. 🙁

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hanukah commemorates an anti-assimilation war. The Hasmoneans fought and died so that the Jewish people would NOT be like the dominant culture. Judah Maccabee must be spinning in his grave.

Daniel Ventresca on December 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    This is a good example of God’s deliverance of the Hebrews, again. Those warriors fought supernaturally with strength.

    God is the same yesterday, today (Six Day War), and tomorrow (Armageddon).

    He delivers.

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hoo boy, now I’ve seen everything.
Santa menorah? Ugh.

Michelle on December 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I don’t know why you use the word menorah, it’s called a Hanukiyah. As for gifts, Hanukkah gelt is quite common, so what’s wrong with a toy instead?

Frenchkiss on December 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Oh yeah, a Hanukiyah is kosher as long as the shamash is above the other candles.

F: WRONG. All the other candles (except the shamash which must be higher) MUST be at the same height, preferably in a straight line. DS

Frenchkiss on December 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Chag Sameach and Happy Hanukkah. Most of you probably don’t know, but virtually most of the X-mas decorations are pagan in origin.

The holiday itself is derived from Northern European winter solstice rituals. Back in the day, these goyim worshipped many things including trees.

This may explain why every year, someone would grab a big honking evergreen, take it home, garnish it up with lights and tinsel and create a potential fire-hazard in the process.

This page may help explain this all (take it with a grain of salt):

If the Maccabees were around, they’d be going thermonuclear on the heathens.

From a still spiritual agnostic, have a great time. Happy Festivus!

The Reverend Jacques on December 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    @ The Reverend Jacques on December 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm
    I’ll need more than a grain of salt for this:

    “Why do parents take their young children, sit them on “Santa’s lap,” and insist on teaching them Santa Claus myths? The word “Santa,” rearranged, spells “S-A-T-A-N,” and “Claus” is reminiscent of “Claws” — in other words, “SATAN’S CLAWS”!
    (yeah but, ONLY IN ENGLISH…duh!)
    Do you want Satan, the arch-enemy of mankind, to get his “claws” into your children? By teaching them Santa Claus myths, and taking them to “Christmas parties,” with “Santa Claus” handing out “gifts,” you are subtly teaching your children to worship Satan the devil, the great impostor!”

    Nice one Rev., ROTFLMAO! Happy Festivus to you too!

    theShadow on December 10, 2012 at 12:39 am

From the writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane: “…When the enemy (the greeks) sent its troops into the town of Modin to set up an idol and demand its worship, it was a Jew who decided to exercise his freedom of pagan worship and who approached the altar to worship Zeus (after all, what business was it of anyone what this fellow worshipped?)  And it was this Jew, this apostate, this religious traitor who was struck down by the brave, glorious, courageous (are these not the words all our Sunday schools use to describe him?) Mattathias, as he shouted: “Whoever is for G-d, follow me!”  
What have we here?  What kind of religious intolerance and bigotry?  What kind of a man is this for the anti-religious of … the graceful temples of suburbia, the sophisticated intellectuals, the liberal open-minded Jews and all the drones who have wearied us unto death with the concept of Judaism as a humanistic, open-minded, undogmatic, liberal, universalistic (if not Marxist) religion, to honor?  What kind of nationalism is this for David-Ben-Gurion (he who rejects the Galut and speaks of the proud, free Jew of ancient Judea and Israel)?
And to crush us even more (we who know that Judaism is a faith of peace which deplores violence), what kind of Jews were these who reacted to oppression with FORCE?  Surely we who so properly have deplored Jewish violence as fascistic, immoral and (above all!) UN-JEWISH, stand in horror as we contemplate Jews who declined to picket the Syrian Greeks to death and who rejected quiet diplomacy for the sword, spear and arrow (had there been bombs in those days, who can tell what they might have done?) and “descended to the level of evil,” thus rejecting the ethical and moral concepts of Judaism.”
I realize Debbi’s discussion concerns faux célébrations, and distortions- and this is somewhat different- but, it is at the core of the problem, because the ‘celebration’
is to be simple, honest, and filled with song and prayer, but it is because of this
terrible necessity back 2200 yrs ago, to fight for ‘Liberty’, and ‘religious freedom’
for real, against a tyranny that today, people are voting slowly back into style

mgoldberg on December 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

By the way, “sufganiot” are not JELLY donuts – the real sufganiot in Israel don’t have jelly in them; they’re filled with raspberry or strawberry JAM (the original ones). North American jelly donuts are ersatz.

A: Jam/Jelly . . . same difference. But, hey, you are now a Ph.D. in Nitpicking. Here’s a tip: no one uses the term “jam donuts.” DS

ABC on December 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Jam contains the fruit or fruit pulp but jelly is strained and clear, not the same thing. In Israel, they are also filled with custard or bavarian creme. They are iced or dusted with sugar. The traditional Sefardi ones have anise seeds and raisins, no filling and are dipped in honey.

    Italkit on December 10, 2012 at 3:57 am

I wholeheartedly agree with Debbie’s sentiments. Unfortunately I think she is only pointing out a symptom of the problem and not the problem itself.

However I am glad that she did point it out so at least those who read her site will know they are not seeing something authentic should they come upon some of these things.

I_AM_ME on December 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Christians shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas anyway. Constantine
invented it & it’s all Pagan anyway.

Michael Doran on December 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Just for the record Jesus WAS NOT born on Dec. 25th. Being a Christian myself I wanted to point that out. Anyone that wants to celebrate that is their business but I would hope the lie about the birth of Christ would be left out. Sadly most Christians have made it all about getting stuff anyway so both religions/peoples have those that cheapen meaningful things. To my Jewish brothers and sisters I wish you all a Happy Chanukah.

Beeman Scott on December 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I officially accept you into ABC NITPICKER CLUB. Soon, you will be fitted for your gown and commencement.


    I am grateful Jesus came. We are not worthy of Him.

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

LOL! Well while I was composing my comment Michael was posting and kind of beat me to the punch. I will add one more thing. Most Christians I tell(in a nice way)Jesus was not born on Dec 25th and it is easy to find in the bible if they will just invest a little time are not interested. 98% will say oh the date really doesn’t matter and many even go on to accuse me of sending them to hell if they celebrate or don’t agree with me. Very touchy people. In no way have I nor do I imply that. But anybody that thinks Jesus being born when he was has no importance really need to get their heads examined. God does things at times for a reason and the more we know and understand those times/seasons and reasons the better we can serve. Isn’t that what we all should want?

Beeman Scott on December 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Those who understand the timing of course of Abia and want to study through the Bible, from when John was born will see that the timing of Christ’s birth is in there. He was born in late September. It is the conception that was December 25, and as life begins at conception, then it is December 25 that He was first with us. Indeed the right time to celebrate, though sad that few understand precisely what they’re celebrating.

    Brian R. on December 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm


      Beautiful post. If only people realized that life begins at conception 🙁

      As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

This kind of crap is just shows how shallow/material/stupid this country has become. Hanukah is not about “blue-sparkly” ornaments, etc. Christmas is not about lighted trees and Santa. This country continues its spiral down the toilet.

Road Warrior on December 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

There are some things that people shouldn’t have ruined Christmas with, so I don’t blame you for not wanting those same things to ruin Chanukah.

RT on December 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Roses are reddish,
Violets are Bluish,
If it wasn’t for Christmas
we’d all be Jewish!!!

Okay, seriously, Debbie is 1000% right. I applaud the Christians who recognize the Jewish origin of Christianity, and I applaud their support for Israel.

I strongly condemn those Jews who blur the differences between our holidays, and I condemn all who reduce both holidays as a time to buy garbage made in China.

Jonathan E. Grant on December 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    GREAT post!!

    Thank the Jewish people for Him!!

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I do note that our dog does wear a Happy Chanukah sweater at this time of year, though.

Jonathan E. Grant on December 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Jonathan E. Grant wrote:

    “I do note that our dog does wear a Happy Chanukah sweater at this time of year, though.”

    ROFLOL ! ! !

    I love dogs – – – , especially when they are on a bun, with mustard, chili, and cheese.

    Here’s the link to some stories I wrote about a former canine companion who is now deceased:

    John Robert Mallernee on December 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    And my dog wears the Star of David on his harness because he happens to be Chewish.

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

As the great Adam Sandler says:

Intro: this is a song, that uh, there’s a lot of xmas songs out there, but not
Too many about hanukkah, so I wrote a song for all those nice little jewish
Kids who don’t get to hear any hanukkah songs–here we go…

Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah,

Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, heres a list of
People who are jewish, just like you and me:

David lee roth lights the menorrah,
So do james caan, kirk douglas, and the late dinah shore-ah

Guess who eats together at the karnickey deli,
Bowzer from sha-na-na, and arthur fonzerrelli.

Paul newmans half jewish; goldie hawns half too,
Put them together–what a fine lookin’ jew! [esus]
[ Lyrics from: ]
You don’t need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin the dreidl with captain kirk and mr. spock–both jewish!

Put on your yalmulka, it’s time for hanukkah,
The owner of the seattle super sonic-ahs celebrates hanukkah.

O.j. simpson– not a jew!
But guess who is…hall of famer¡ºrod carew–(he converted!)

We got ann landers and her sister dear abby,
Harrison fords a quarter jewish–not too shabby!

Some people think that ebeneezer scrooge is,
Well, he’s not, but guess who is:all three stooges. [esus]

So many jews are in show biz–
Tom cruise isn¹t, [tacit] but I heard his agent is. [esus]

Tell your friend veronica, it’s time you celebrate hanukkah
I hope I get a harmonica, on this lovely, lovely hanukkah.

So drink your gin-and-tonic-ah, and smoke your mara-juanic-ah,
If you really, really wanna-kah, have a happy, happy, happy, happy
Hanukkah¡­¡­. happy hanukka!

Kershaw on December 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Christmas menorah? Christmas dreidel? I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake. It should be HOLIDAY menorahs.

So, Debbie, I welcome you to light the candles of the 8 days of HOLIDAY.

gmartinz on December 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Yes, of course this glitzy Hanukkah merchandise bears no connection to any of the traditions of Hanukkah. It’s all part of the American tradition of commercializing everything, like having a “Veterans Day Blowout Sale.” And I can appreciate that lots of Jews would consider this Hanukkah stuff to be offensive or at least in bad taste. And for the “Deli Jews” out there–it’s sort of like eating a corned beef sandwich on white bread with mayo. Yechh.

But the same could be said of Christmas itself, as all of the merchandise and rituals bear little, if any, connection to the origins of Christianity.

Years ago, I read a paper that was essentially a psychoanalytic interpretation of the Christmas holiday. The basic ideas in that paper seemed very persuasive and still are for me today. The paper covered the historical origins of Christmas, and virtually all of the symbols and rituals were of Pagan origin. In fact, most of Christians fought against those Pagan practices, but, as we all know, or should realize, the Pagan take on Christmas is the one that prevailed, not that of the Christians.

So what can psychoanalysis tell us about Christmas, given that we know that it’s really a Pagan holiday? It’s really about fertility. And Christmas is filled with sexual symbols. I’ll identify some of the most obvious ones: Tree = Penis; Balls = Testicles; Tinsel = Semen; and Wreath = Vagina. And Santa coming down the chimney? You get the point.

And of course, with all this commercialization, these practices and traditions can come pretty close to idol worship. That goes against the First Commandment, Exodus 20:1-3.

Ralph Adamo on December 10, 2012 at 2:01 am

    If you meant your post to be serious, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but…HAHAHA! What a load of psychoanalytic nonsense. Why is it people in the field of psychoanalysis are so obsessed with sex? Everything boils down to two major concepts… Sex and Parents. Occasionally, as in the case of Sugmund Freud, it was about sex with your own mother. Nice, eh? But I digress…

    Christmas symbols are tied to many pagan beliefs, most pointing to life’s triumph over death. The association with Christmas actually goes back to the Roman Catholic Church’s attempt to convert pagans to Catholicism. Many items traditionally used in pagan celebrations (and really all sorts of celebrations, as there’s no ‘pagan’ patent on trees, candles, etc.), and put a Christian twist on them. Meaning that no longer were the items supposed to represent Yule or the Winter Solstice, but now they would be a physical representation of Jesus conquering the grave. The circular shape of the wreath now represented eternity (without beginning or end), NOT a vagina (as you claim). The concept of a Christmas Tree in any celebrations associated with Christmas didn’t really catch on in the States until Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, brought the tradition from Germany. Thus, England began to mimic the Monarchy and the US thought it was trendy, so it was picked up in the US. As far as it representing a penis, one has to have a very twisted mind to make that connection. The Christmas Tree also harkened back to the concept of bringing ‘life’ indoors during the darkest days of the year. The same goes for garland, etc. In terms of tinsel representing semen…wow! I can only imagine what a warped upbringing and/or belief system nurtured this type of reasoning. ???? Tinsel, like other ‘sparkly’ ornaments, was used as a way to generate more ‘light’ on the tree. After all, candles were the first means of lighting the tree and those in years past couldn’t have the fully-lit and extravagantly decorated Tannenbaumen we see today. Instead, they used metallic decorations to ‘amplify’ the light they did have. Additionally, the metallic decorations helped to provide a sparkle to the tree when it wasn’t lit. Tinsel itself was later referred as ‘icicle’ garland, because of the metallic finish and the dangling from a branch ‘look’.

    While I don’t know where you got that warped psychoanalytic paper, one thing is certain…that person doesn’t know too much about history. The historical truth is not centered around genetalia. Modern twists can be inferred onto historical symbols, but that doesn’t make it fact. The circular symbols around Christmas are representation of eternity. The tree, wreaths and garlands made up of firs, etc. are representing life conquering death (darkness) and tinsel has absolutely nothing to do with semen (I literally cannot believe I just had to write this post).

    Judith on February 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm

“To my Christian friends, keep doing what you’re doing. We respect your traditions and decorations.”

Um. NO! This is is where the confusion comes from. All those “traditions” are from PAGAN sources, and many are specifically prohibited in Torah, e.g. the tree = the Asherah pole of the Bible. I will let everyone here google this because I’m not really interested anymore but there’s even a reason they eat ham on christmas. These traditions are NOT OK for the true Believer in the G-d of Abraham and the Torah basis for their religion. My Christian friends wouldn’t even consider using these Pagan symbols and many have come to understand that the date of Dec. 25 is approximately the time of the Solstice and has nothing to do with when Jesus was born. Most scholars now place his time of birth around Sukkoth.

Italkit on December 10, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Guess again, Italkit. Guess again.

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Happy Chanukah, Ms. Schlussel. May G_d bless you, and thank you for your daily vigilance.

Dina K on December 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

You know Debbie, Hanukah does not stand only for the Jewish people’s victory over oppression and corruption I may add It stands for the will of people to be free. I as a gentile Egyptian admire this spirit of determination to be free and to preserve the faith. Mechants are all for the money not for the faith. They don’t want to see merry Christmas or blessed Hanukah, they want us to buy buy and buy what they offer nothing else. They came with the unisex idea so that they sell junk to our kids. Now watch it; pretty soon they will come with the uni-clebrations idea so that we all buy goods from them at all occaisions.

G. R. SCHAROUBIM on December 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

Wow, how incredibly tacky! I loved the stocking that said “Oy Oy Oy”. So would they then sing Oy to the World? The people who made this stuff probably make money hand over fist making Kwanzaa tree ornaments, the difference being that Chanukah is a REAL HOLIDAY.

Sean M on December 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

Your home is Israel. I don’t know why you must suffer a land where Jews have long lost any semblance of an anchor in their rich and ancient heritage. The Jewish nation today is centered in Israel. I promise that you will not find a bastardized version of this wonderful holiday here.

Arn on December 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

As others have posted, the traditional Christmas celebration with Christmas trees, lights, & Santa Claus have very little to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

In my mind I separate the religious holiday and the secular one. As a Christian I celebrate the religious holiday at Church and appreciate that “God so loved the World that he sent his only Son”.

On the other hand I love the traditional Christmas of trees, lights, Santa Claus, giving presents, visiting family members, and bringing cheer and happiness to the World.

Many of my Jewish friends separate the religious with the secular holiday as well and celebrate the religious holiday of Chanukah as it should be AND celebrate the secular holiday of Christmas and have a tree with lights and Santa bringing the kids presents.

As they sang in the musical Mame “we need a little Christmas right now”.

jimmyPx on December 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

This is cracking me up. How can mere mortals survive the holidays when you’ve got folks with PhD’s from MIT figuring out new and better ways to get us poor simpletons to buy crap we don’t need. As an ecumenical Jew, I have a bumper sticker on my car, “Keep Macy’s in Christmas”

Bikerrich on December 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hilarious! “Keep Macy’s in Christmas” Hilarious!

    We remember the birth of Christ, His resurrection, and His emininent return every day. We are counting the minutes.

    It’s okay for others to do differently. But, the miracles God has given to the Jewish people are endless and important, each and every one of them.

    As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

To sum it up, it is all about Freedom of Religion!

And, that’s a good thing. How it is done is personal responsibility.

Historically, I am under budget in December. I am very careful and ask “Do I really need or what that?” NO! I did give folding money to the four kids across the street. I like doing it for them to have fun.

As goes, so goes... (and Christ-Centered) on December 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Arn, that’s true but the Russians have imported their Xmas trees and decorations and the stores are full of them in many cities.

Italkit on December 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    So what? It’s a free country. But here in Israel you don’t have to be at all religious to feel that you are part of something greater than yourself. We are once again a Jewish nation. This is the message of Hanukkah and explains why even dyed-in-the-wool seculars here will not fail to light the candles and sing the songs with joyous abandon.

    Arn on December 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I find it fascinating that the truth of the festival is rare told. It is a clear result of the Macabee’s refusing to have false religion brought in by foreigners and the Jews revolt and Gods blessing for what they did. We need to take the lesson to heart.

Jonathan Gartner on December 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Debbie. This is excellent and I am sharing far and wide. Chanukah sameach.

Naomi R. on December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

OY OY OY – That can’t be real, can it? ROFLMAO

CornCoLeo on December 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I have two questions: Is this kosher, and what is that thing on the left?

Irving on December 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    @Irving – I think the light colored, disc shaped part in the middle would be the Enterprise, with the rest of the figurine being a display. Live long and prosper!

    CornCoLeo on December 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Christians can celebrate (and, in my opinion, should treat themselves to) many Jewish Holidays and traditions.

For starters, Jewish Holidays are the real ones, and Jesus observed them. Like Easter, Christmas is a pagan “holiday.” Jesus was likely born sometime around Sukkot. Christians have no instructions from G-d to create or celebrate any new “holidays.” Christian ones were invented by men and closely correlate to pagan rites and calendars. Unlike Jewish Holidays, Christian “holidays” are filled with pagan paraphernalia, traditions, and myths.

Studying the history of the different Holidays is a treat in and of itself.

Our kids (and my brother and I back in the 60s) grew up celebrating Hanukkah. And we didn’t mix it with Christmas. My kids also enjoyed lighting Sabbath candles and saying the prayers in Hebrew. Now, I do that on my own.

We are of a mix of Jewish descent (quite a lot, actually, but our elders were secretive or unobservant) and a little very dubious Lutheran. Most of our family claimed to be of no religious affiliation. They lived as white, middle class Americans with nothing added. The Holidays were just something fun to do.

My husband and I currently attend a non-denominational church, and I attend a messianic Torah study group for my own enrichment.

I’ve thought seriously about converting to Judaism simply because, when I observe the Holidays and Sabbath, I sense something genuine–quite unlike the Christian ones, which tend to stress me out. When I study Torah, my faith becomes highly energized and a sense of well-being is present that I can’t shake.

Just some thoughts about the Holidays. I pray yours fill you with a sense of peace and well-being, also 🙂

Aurora on December 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

Arn writes, “Your home is Israel. I don’t know why you must suffer a land where Jews have long lost any semblance of an anchor in their rich and ancient heritage.”

Perhaps you should remind the city leaders in Haifa. They’ve in the past put up holiday decorations reflective of the city’s many faith communities. But this year, for some reason, they’ve favored Christian decorations. Many Jews protested, and only subsequent to said protests did displays reflecting Chanukah appear.

As to Irving’s question about the Star Trek menorah, electric menorahs are not “kosher” for other than display purposes. A proper hanukiah uses candles or oils meeting certain criteria to provide the illumination.

Raymond in DC on December 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Now you see exactly what the term “Festival of Lights” is all about, converting a Jewish holiday into Christmas.

Fred Taub on December 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

But Debbie they are adorable!! I want one! =) But you’re right that it’s tradition that continues to save society from going out of control.

FeFe on December 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

You celebrate however you want. I LOVE the mainstreaming of Hanukkah. I will continue to celebrate Hanukkah with all the glitz and pizzazz ( and spell it that way) Its a fabulous American holiday and I love it when my Christian friends light a menorah. Its all one G-d….if you believe in more than one then we might have a problem 🙂

Kallie on December 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Christmas isnt about glitz and glam either. I feel like we need to save Christmas from most Christians. It’s about the birth of our saviour.

Walmart now sells tree toppers for Muslims….give me a break.

Kat on December 1, 2014 at 9:03 am

Just have to put in my 2 cents-
Dec. 25 is the birthday of the sun god, Mithra. Constantine wanted a gimmick to use to spread his power across Europe, so he decided to mix the sun god worship of the Romans with “Christianity” by putting Jesus in the place of Mithra, so now it was Jesus born in a manger and visited by 3 kings. Sabbath become sun god day – Sunday. Christmas, though a great fun, bright family time, is really pagan in roots. Make it a secular holiday and enjoy it if you want. But it has nothing to do with Jesus. Source of this info is “Constantine’s Sword”, but it is in Christian Bible that council of Nicea in 325 CE codified the Christian Bible and that is when Constantine invented the Mithra-Christian religion.

Channah on December 12, 2016 at 3:47 am

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