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Oy Vey, the Kid's Crazy for Santa Claus

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Christmas is an exciting and magical time of year for children of all ages. But not for most Jewish kids.

Some of us at Mom•Logic were talking about how our kids get green and red with envy around this time of year. And it's no wonder, to a kid, Christmas looks like one giant party, while Hanukkah... less so. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Christmas and Hanukkah through the eyes of a child (scroll down for tips on dealing with Christmas-Envy):


Advice on coping with Christmas-envy: Although Hanukkah has all the time-honored traditions of Christmas, kids might not find the story of Judah Maccabeus as enticing as a Christmas tree decorated with giant candy canes. One Jewish staffer here at Mom•Logic remembers smuggling a tiny Christmas tree home as a kid, “I rode it home on the back of my bike, I even had a miniature string of lights. I would sit in my closet for hours and just look at. Luckily, my parents never found out.”

Christmas Envy is pretty common. Just ask friend of Mom•Logic Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, who told us her own 3-year-old daughter recently declared, “I want to celebrate Christmas this year.” Oy, Gevalt. But Rabbi Hirsch isn’t surprised, “We live in a Christian society, we are inundated with Christmas everywhere we go.” “When parents voice their concern that their child is envious of Christmas, I ask the parent if THEY also feel left out.” The answer she says, is almost always yes.

So, the key to combating the Christmas green-eyed monster, says the Rabbi, is to make Hanukkah your own, with your own family traditions that you explain each year and let the kids really participate (they want to help you cook, and wrap, and pick out gifts). When children have a strong foundation in their own traditions, they might still be interested in Christmas, but ultimately they’ll be proud of their own heritage.

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lisa  December 11, 2007, 8:26 PM

I think you missed some things on the Hanukkah side. What about the dradle game as an activity? Eating latkas?? And it may not be a classic but Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights was designed just for the christmas-envy audience

Tracy Bagatelle-Black December 6, 2009, 3:54 PM

However made your list missed a lot!

Wow…your chart is missing latkes — a key hanukah food with applesauce or sour cream. Also, donuts are a hanukah food in israel. Anything fried works.

Also, we had the Hanukah Fairy at my house, a tradition that I follow as a mom. The kids love it and it’s more fun that way for the adults too.

BTW, there is a Rugrats Hanukah DVD and also Adam Sandler did “8 crazy nights” plus that great Hanukah song.

When I was growing up, the 8 gift were way more than my friends got under the tree. So it was never a bummer. Plus, we got to go to Chinatown for Peking Duck on Christmas while they were stuck with boring old family!

Also, silver works as a Hanukah color. They get gold but we get silver! And now you even find Hanukah lights and such.

Kayla December 6, 2009, 6:21 PM

You should try looking for the Rugrats Hanukkah special! It’s great and very sweet and shows that there’s a place for both holidays in society. Plus it teaches the story of Hanukkah in an adorable, diaper-clad caper.

Alex December 6, 2009, 6:22 PM

I can speak as a Jewish kid saying I have NEVER had “Christmas Envy.” Frankly, whatever Jewish kids do have it either are brats are don’t really celebrate Hanukkah. Playing dreidel for gelt (chocolate) or money was (and is) always a fun thing to do, as mentioned before the latkas are great. One present a night? Rarely true. It usually ended up with more than one at at least 3 nights for me and most of my Jewish friends. If anything my friends were jealous of me for Hanukkah because it lasted a full week while they got one day. You are also forgetting that at times kids do MAKE a menorah which provides not as much but still some of the satisfaction as the Christmas tree. Sorry I am not a mom, I just stumbled upon this.

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Me January 8, 2010, 4:31 PM

Christmas is hardly Christian nowadays. You could just celebrate both. Hanukkah for your religious reasons, and christmas for it’s wonderful candy and consumerism.

abby November 26, 2010, 8:19 PM

hanukah is pretty cool and i have a couple friends who celebrate it (cuz theyre jewish) but also celebrate christmas (cuz one of their parents is christian) christmas isnt even really just for christians anymore its kind of irritating when an athiest decides theyre going to celebrate christmas just for the present when its actually a religious holiday and has a more important meaning bhind it

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