Outside the Christmasphere

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: streets illuminated by sparkling lights, the warm glow of the ornamented tree through the windows of every house and shrieks of excitement when the calendar quickly nears Dec. 25.

I think if everybody in the school was asked what her favorite time of the year was, the majority would answer “Christmas.” So once Thanksgiving passes, Christmas is the center of attention. Like the flick of a switch, all of my TV commercials involve ornaments, glowing lights and romantic Christmas mornings shared over a steaming hot cup of Folgers. Most of this would probably excite me if I could actually have any of it.

Instead, given the cards that the fates have dealt me, I can only admire from afar and walk away from white-elephant parties clutching a useless Christmas ornament. It’s not like I have a Hanukkah bush to decorate. When was the last time you saw a house decked out in festive Hanukkah decor?

Being Jewish during Christmastime makes me feel left out. It’s like being the grape Jolly Rancher at the bottom of the bucket on Mrs. Walder’s desk.

I’m not at all saying that I dislike Hanukkah or that I regret ever being Jewish, but I believe there is a major discrepancy, especially during the holiday times. And I feel like Jewish children are always looking to find Hanukkah as the Jewish counterpart to Christmas when in reality, it is not. Judaism does not look at Hanukkah like Christianity looks at Christmas, but we still try to compensate. And as attempted restitution for lack of a Santa figure, we’ve crafted the unappealing “Hanukkah Harry” character that nobody ever caught onto.

There’s something about the magnitude of Hanukkah in comparison to that of Christmas that makes me feel so miniscule. Perhaps it’s the fact that there is not a single radio station that plays Hanukkah music (what’s up with that?) or how Joann’s can have aisle upon aisle of Christmas decorations and gift wrap but when it comes to Hanukkah decor, we get two types of paper plates and a packet of stickers.

Despite the disconnect I feel during the holiday time, I have to admit that my favorite part of December is decorating Christmas cookies, listening to 98.7 KLUV with my mom,  watching Elf and sitting outside my house, imagining how incredible I could make it look with a few hundred feet of lights. But a girl can dream.

– Sydney Yonack