It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And not just for those observing Christmas, either. Sure, as a Jew, you have to wrestle your Upper West Side neighbors to nab the last “Happy Hanukkah!” greeting cards from beneath a card castle of glitter-bombed trees, tinsel, and ornaments (oh my!), and finding the appropriate sweater for your office’s annual Ugly Sweater Party will certainly take a little craft, creativity, and a few extra trips to Target, but these are only minor inconveniences.
Despite the mild trauma caused by Santa Claus cynicism, an extreme aversion to gingerbread, and unconstitutional hunger as Uber Eats takes extra long to deliver your traditional Christmas Eve Szechwan (not to mention extra charges due to “increased demand”), being Jewish during the Hallmark holiday season is actually a blessing in disguise.
It’s time to dig out that prehistoric external disc drive, insert your brand new Winter Wonderland Starbucks compilation CD (thanks for the thoughtful Hanukkah present, Dad!), and enjoy the joys of Judaism this December because these are real benefits of being Jewish during the Christmas season.
1. Stress-free gift returns
While most have less than a week to take inventory, collect receipts, and hectically map out alternative routes, you’ve got plenty of time to decide which presents to keep and which to part with before rolling back into the office overfed and under-slept on January 2. Opposite to groupthink, the post-Christmas gift return crunch is a marathon, not a sprint. And luckily, you’ve been training for weeks. Also along those lines…
When Hanukkah comes weeks before Christmas, like it does this year, you can blissfully regift your duplicates and undesirables for your best non-Jewish friends. Just don’t forget to:
1. Rewrap them in paper that isn’t plastered with dreidels
2. Fish the stray chocolate gelt from the bottom of the bag
3. Dining on a dime
No need to wallow when your Bubbe doesn’t allow you a +1 to the “Levinsky Latke Lunch-In” (wary of your track record of bringing either non-Jews, non-boys, or sometimes both). Your odds of gaining a pity invite to at least one Christmas dinner are much higher — particularly if you are, in fact, dating a non-Jew.
4. One “GET OUT OF SECRET SANTA FREE” card
Let’s not beat around the burning bush: No one in their right mind actually likes Christmas gift swaps. If they claim that they do, then they’ve probably picked the one coworker they can actually stand. As a Jew, you can play the “Sorry, I already did Hanukkah Harry three weeks ago” card at anytime. Just don’t get caught or you may lose your FREE PARKING space.
5. Fresh powder
While most kids wake up at the crack of dawn, tiptoe downstairs in their matching pajamas, and spend the entirety of Christmas morning huddled around toy trains and candy canes (as a Jew, my knowledge of Christmas morning doesn’t extend far beyond Barney’s Night Before Christmas), you can sleep in, have a late breakfast, then hit the ski slopes at your own pace. The entire mountain belongs to you (and the two other Jewish families staying at your Vermont ski resort).
6. Making a fashion statement at SantaCon
Red is so last season. Relish the freedom to bypass any Santa suit peer pressure. After all, you were born to be blue. You’ve finally got the chance to make a statement.
On sale until New Years (with a questionable expiration date), this alcoholic grape juice is much cheaper than wine, and much healthier than eggnog. More importantly, it doesn’t ignite your lactose intolerance.
8. More time to shed that dreaded holiday weight
Every few years when Hanukkah falls at the beginning of December instead of the end, one cannot help but think: “Someone up there gets it. Someone up there is looking out for me.” Because after eight gluttonous days where anything considered “starch” is plunged in oil and deep-fried in guilt, we Jews need a little extra time to rebound. Why not join a gym and get that head start on memberships before everyone else makes their New Years Resolutions?