The difference between
Christmas and Chanukah
Now, if anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and
Chanukah you will know what and how to answer!
- Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also
love December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to the
movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8
days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that
falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend
asks when Chanukah starts forcing us to consult a calendar so we
don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided
free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher
butcher or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida) or
other Jewish funeral home.
- Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with
the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we
survived, let’s eat.
- Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume,
stereos, etc. Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks or
the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the
- There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to
spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah,
- Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends.
Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that
burden. No one expects a diamond ring on chanukah.
- Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for
Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get
to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.
- Christmas carols are beautiful…Silent Night, Come All Ye
faithful. Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having
a party and dancing the hora. Of course, we are secretly pleased
that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our
tribal brethren. And don’t Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing
- A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful like the sweet
smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around
in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil,
potatoes and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all
talking at once.
- Christian women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Jewish women
burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for
latkes on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the
- Parents deliver presents to their children during Christmas.
Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the
- The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names
such as Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are
Antiochus, Judah Maccabee and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or
pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and
they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.
- Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think,
“Yossela, Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t
sleep with her and now you want to blame G-d? Here’s the phone number
of my shrink”.
- In recent years, Christmas has become more and more
commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a
minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday
such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come
to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your
dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed
good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person.
Better stick with Chanukah!
This page was last updated January 1, 2007.