The Tantrum, Part 1: Why Can’t Jews Just Ignore Santa?

November 30th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in The Tantrum  |  6 Comments


So I was walking JP home from his mother’s last night, and as is his usual pattern, he was trying to hit me up for a toy at each gumball machine we passed. He gets his way with this about once a week, which is a pretty high ratio, I think. Last night was a no night, which led to a discussion about why he never gets gifts (he does), when said gifts will arrive (I made the mistake of saying he had to wait for Hanukkah, when gifts would rain from the sky), which opened the door to a further discussion about how come we don’t have a Christmas tree like he does at his mother’s, which required me to explain that we do Hanukkah at my house, with its fun candles and stuff, which ended up in … a blank stare.

Don’t get me wrong—JP likes lighting things on fire as much as the next kid, and he knows that eight days of gifts is better than one. But he really has no idea what Hanukkah is, which makes sense, as I really have no idea what it is, other than the time of year where we have to make lame rationalizations about the pleasures of lighting things on fire and the surplus benefits of eight days of gifts while the entire country goes apeshit over a pagan demigod breaking into their fucking homes and stealing their cookies.

Problem solved! Fuck the goyim and their silly holidays of commercial excess. I’m going to stick with my potato pancakes and world-weary ethnic bitterness. It’s better that way. I will know where the finer Chinese restaurants are, and the Christians will have to make due with candy canes.

The real issue, though, is that JP will be learning about Xmas over at his mother’s house, and let’s be honest—Hanukkah can’t really compete. Christmas is too much, it’s too popular, too successful—it’s the Grinch that stole my Jewish Christmas. I can try to ignore it, but what good will it do? There’s lights everywhere! Before Halloween is even over!

Do I want, then, to actively undermine Christmas in JP’s mind? Do I tell him that Santa is not only not real but a little bit of a perv? And a drunk? And that the reindeer get nothing in the whole deal? Or do I do what divorced parents always have to do—accept that things don’t work perfectly, do the best I can, and make sure we have a good time anyway.

What do you think?


  1. Jack says:

    November 30th, 2010at 11:56 am(#)

    Tell him that the Red Rebbe is a fat slob who got his ass kicked by me.

    On a serious note, there is no competition here nor a need to position it so. The significance/importance of the holidays do not match up.

    Chanukah is a minor holiday for us MOTs. I taught my kids to be happy with who and what they are. And that it is ok to help our Christian friends celebrate it at their homes.

    It has worked out quite nicely.

  2. Jen says:

    November 30th, 2010at 12:42 pm(#)

    As a Christian, I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU. Christmas is an over commercialized holiday. By the beginning of November, I’m already sick of Christmas!

    We don’t do the “Santa thing”. I mean, do I really want my 3 year old daughter looking forward to sitting on a smelly old man’s lap so she can tell him all the toys she wants (but probably won’t get), then let her believe he’s WATCHING her when she’s sleeping, then he breaks into our house eats our food and drinks our milk? Any other person would be labeled a pervert or pedophile…oh but not Santa…he’s “saint-like”.

    Shoot, Jesus wasn’t even born in December! “Christmas” was put in December to coincide with the Winter Solstice. And what the heck does a pine tree have to do with the birth of Jesus anyway? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t!

  3. Matt's mom says:

    November 30th, 2010at 1:48 pm(#)

    Our problem was solved when one of Matt’s kindergartern friends saw that we didn’t have a chimney–actually, we had one (for the furnace) but no accompanying fireplace–and concluded that Santa couldn’t come into our house.

  4. Cheri says:

    December 2nd, 2010at 3:22 pm(#)

    maybe you should find out more about what Hanukkah is and then you’ll have more of an answer for him. Kids can have pride in their own traditions and still find others attractive!


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