Friday, November 22, 2013

That Time of Year Again...

F.Y.I:  the box is empty!
It's fast approaching this year. With Thanksgiving falling on the second night of Hanukah this year we have a unique holiday, Thanksgivukah. This cultural collsion that has moved up and lengthened the dreaded Xmas deluge and has ushered in what promises to be a long season.

For an entire month all those Happy Holidays themes will be officially irrelevant to those whose token festivals either don't exist or are over. Those tacky paper menorahs, dreidels and blue and silver decorations will have to be sold at deep discount on December shelves.

Not that this mish-mash holiday stew ever made much sense in the first place. Hanukah is a minor Jewish holiday that was blown up and embellished to provide Christians with company on their big birthday bash. Kwanzaa was invented  in 1966 to spotlight Black history. The Solstice celebration of the return of the light on December 21st dates back to the pagan calendar. But, under capitalism, all these festivals are reduced to one purpose only: rampant consumerism.

In my family we covered all the bases by celebrating both Hanukah and Christmas. Neither had any religious content and the eight presents of Hanukah were token tschokes at best. The Hanukah Bush was a staple seasonal fixture in many Jewish homes. Ours even had lights on it.

My sister and I had a yearly tradition. On the night before Christmas, we would call strangers on the telephone and read the entire text of the poem by the same name. Almost every person listened until the end then applauded and thanked us.

So, there was no war on Xmas coming from my house. All we had there were collaborators. But my parents did draw the line. Strings of colored lights on the outside of the house were declared strictly for Gentiles only. But we always drove around to find the most exciting and elaborate displays on other people's lawns to both enjoy and envy.