In most years, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are celebrated in close proximity to one another. This year is no exception. Hanukkah starts Dec. 2l, Christmas is on Dec. 25 and Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26. All three are joyous occasions that focus on family, children and gift−giving.
Jews are preparing for their eight−day observance of Hanukkah. Throughout this holiday, gifts will be given to children. These gifts, customarily toys and books, also include “gelt” (Yiddish for “money”) and candy gelt (chocolate coins).
A new survey among adult men revealed that the most dreaded holiday visitor in December is the mother−in−law. The thought of their spouse’s mother spending the festive season with them is strictly !@#$%.
It is believed the tradition of gelt−giving commemorates the year 142 B.C., when the Jews won independence in the world’s first battle fought for religious freedom and began creating their own money.
During the Hanukkah holidays, when my two sons were young, I spoke to each to impart a simple, four−word message: no haircut, no gelt. To this day, there weren’t two more well−groomed scalps in Queens than on Jon and Vance.
It is hard to buy holiday gifts early in the year. You never know who your friends will be in December.
Christmas is the time to let minds wander to mistletoe and holly, burning candles, decorated trees, warmth and friendship. Author Washington Irving put it best when he wrote: “Of all the festivals, that of Christmas awakens the strongest and most heartfelt associations. There is a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality and lifts the spirit of hallowed and elevated enjoyment.”
The gift−giving season this year may be slow. I hear Santa Claus lost a bundle in the stock market.
Christmas Eve is magic for children. They hang their stockings by the chimney with care before going to sleep (although the TV, computer or dishwasher are wonderful substitutes for families without fireplaces.) Then their long countdown begins. Will Santa deliver the gifts they wanted? Christmas morning is a child’s moment of truth and the time for the family to enjoy the holiday together.
Many parents will celebrate Christmas in style. They are going to roast their stockbrokers over an open fire.
Kwanzaa, a seven−day, African−American cultural holiday, celebrates children, family, community and heritage. The name means “first fruits” in Swahili. On the sixth day, a large feast called the “karamu” is held. This day provides the opportunity to give thanks for the past year and “zawadi” (gifts) are given to children. It is also traditional to narrate African tales.
Stop the presses! I just got word that there is a plan afoot to merge Christmas and Hanukkah. Since both holidays fall closely together, celebrate with bright lights and candles, feast abundantly and give gifts to children, why not? The new holiday will be named “Chrisukkah.”
While details are not available, it is believed the high cost of celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah and 12 days of Christmas should be combined for economical reasons. All celebrants would then be able to enjoy concentrated, high−quality service during a streamlined, new five−day holiday.
Massive layoffs are to be expected, however, with lords a−leaping, maids a−milking, gelt manufacturers and candlestick makers being the hardest hit. As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreidel currently in Hebrew, would be replaced by Latin, thus becoming unintelligible to a wider audience.
In exchange, Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vast merchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts. One of the points holding up the agreement was the question of whether Jewish children could mix meat and dairy by leaving milk and cookies for Santa after Santa had eaten non−parve meat for dinner.
A breakthrough came when Oreos were declared kosher. A representative for Christmas Inc. declined to say whether or not a takeover of Kwanzaa might be in the works, since it will help maintain competitive balance.
Readers, can you imagine the holiday season without an intact Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa? Relax, folks, I just learned from Bill Maher that the rumor was false. Hurray, oy vey and fa−la−la−la−la, la−la−la−la.
With the holidays saved, Gloria and I are sending you all a gift you cannot exchange: love.
Contact Alex Berger at news@times
©2008 Community News Group
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