12 Questions This Jew Has About Christmas

12 Questions This Jew Has About ChristmasI don’t understand Christmas. Sure, I get that it’s meant to commemorate the birth of Jesus, and it’s celebratory.  But I just don’t understand some of the customs.

Here are this Jew’s top 12 questions about Christmas.

  1. What’s the deal with egg nog?Is there some sort of symbolism involved with egg nog? Now remember, this is coming from a guy whose religion finds symbolism in jelly donuts.  Also, what’s in egg nog? If it’s anything like an egg cream, there is no egg in it (one of those strange facts I learned while living in Brooklyn). And if there is egg in egg nog – well, I flash back to Rocky Balboa in the original movie when he drank a few eggs before going out for a run.
  1. When do you eat? Every Jewish holiday revolves around food. I’m trying to figure out the timeline here. If you go to Church at midnight and open presents in the morning – well, what’s next? Do you have brunch together? Is Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
  1. Why all the colorful lights?First off, you should know that Jews love the lights. Last year my family drove around on Christmas Eve looking at the lights in the neighborhood – our friends from synagogue knew where all the best houses were. If I was in charge of Christmas, I would insist that everyone who celebrates the holiday must put up lights. But when do you put them up? Do you turn them off at night? Does part of your holiday budget go towards the increased electric bill?
  1. Does the Elf on the Shelf work?Just recently someone told me that the Elf on the Shelf is meant to be Santa’s helper. It watches the kids to make sure they behave and therefore deserve presents. Sure the whole thing about it watching is a bit creepy and big brotherish, but does it keep the kids in line? If the Elf works, I’ll slap a yarmulke on him and put him in my house.

  1. What’s up with the yule log?Every year on Christmas there’s the yule log on television accompanied by Christmas music. First off, what does yule mean? Is it a kind of tree? Do people watch that? Is it comforting? Does the burning of the log have anything to do with the cold outside? On that note, why is it everyone’s desire to have a white Christmas? Does it make the holiday more special to have snow on it?
  1. How do you handle the end of Santa Claus?I’ve heard some debate recently about how Santa Clause is a lie and therefore you shouldn’t tell your kids about him because it will disillusion them. Seems like over-parenting to me. If it’s anything like the end of the Tooth Fairy myth for my children – they just figured it out – it won’t be traumatic. In fact, the question was, “Do I still get money when a tooth falls out?” So how do you handle the end of Santa? Is it traumatic or more like, “I still get presents, right?”
  1. What are the rules for the tree?I’ve heard various theories about the tree and how it relates to the holiday. But my questions run deeper. When is the right time to put up the tree? I’ve heard some who do it right after Thanksgiving and some who do it Christmas eve. Do they drop in price the night before (nothing wrong with a bargain)? Also, are they hard to maintain? I’m a lawn killer – dead yellow tan grass for us – and I know I’m not the only one. Is that why people get fake ones? And are those people judged?
  1. What’s up with the hanging stockings?Does it have anything to do with broken or slow dryers? How did putting gifts into it come about? What makes something a great stocking stuffer? Also, is it about size – does size matter? Do you open up the presents in the stocking first? Has anyone ever gotten coal?
  1. When can you open the presents? I’ve heard of people who open the presents the night before. Is that because they simply can’t wait or is there something to it? Also how can you open presents at night if Santa comes around at midnight? Does this make Christmas less fun or more fun?
  1. What exactly is caroling?My understanding is you go around the neighborhood singing songs like a traveling choir. Do you knock on people’s doors and just start singing? If someone knocks on my door, should I just listen politely? Do you expect donations for a charity after you’re done singing? Also, if everyone is out caroling who’s around to listen?
  1. Is there a quintessential Christmas song?Even I know there’s about a million Christmas songs. But which one really says Christmas to you? Is there one that puts you in the Christmas mood because it just screams Christmas? In case you were wondering, my favorite isBruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  Also when is the right time to start with Christmas music? Do you play it in your house?
  1. How many days is Christmas?Now, I see Christmas written on the calendar on just one day. – December 25th. Yet there’s the famous song – 12 days of Christmas. Where did it come from? If Christmas is 12 days, when does it start? What do you do on the other days? Also what is a partridge, and how did it end up in a pear tree?

I need answers people. So, could you help a Jew out?

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.

4 thoughts on “12 Questions This Jew Has About Christmas

  1. These are all excellent questions, and I don’t have answers for most of them. I’ve never had a Yule log, but I have made egg nog a few times– think melted ice cream. Delish!

    You might be interested to know that all these traditions vary between families and Christian denominations. Our church doesn’t have services on Christmas Eve or Day, but some of our friends absolutely go to one of those services.

    As for the rest of it, each family just makes up their own approach. So I’ve helped you not a whit, and I’m super sorry about that!

    • I figured some of these vary family to family. So how does your family handle these?
      I don’t understand the no Church on Christmas – isn’t it a religious holiday?
      Egg nog sounds like a milk shake.

  2. Hi Larry,
    These are really quite interesting and funny questions. Some of the answers vary from country to country and from tradition to tradition. I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks for sharing it.

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