There are plenty of things to hate about Christmas. For example… the non-stop holiday music, the constant bell ringing, plastic snowmen on the lawn, the crazy crowds when you just want to go to Target for a few groceries, and the “war on Christmas” crap. But I have to say, even for a Jewish guy, Christmas is actually pretty cool.
I’ll leave aside the religious significance of Christmas, though, for the record, I don’t mind saying happy birthday to a guy that taught and led by example to care for the poor, practice peace and tolerance, and believed in inclusion and love. This isn’t a political post, but I’ll add that maybe some of his most ardent supporters need to remember those teachings from time to time.
This post is more about the cultural side of Christmas. The expansion of a day into a season unto itself. A time of year like no other. An event, at least for us Minnesotans, that softens the crushing gloom of impending winter.
I’ll go as far as to say Christmas is inspiring. Here’s why…
I’m not into shopping, but Black Friday inspires some serious cost savings. The last two Black Friday’s I’ve gotten televisions, and I think I’ve gotten pretty good buys. So whether Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, or the huge sales following the holiday, Christmas inspires deals that even us Jews can take advantage of.
If you work in an office, you know that this time of year has a total different feel then the rest of the year. There are treats everywhere, whether home-baked or the gift of some vendor. There is a little less pressure and stress, a few more moments to lay back, and most importantly, a whole lot of people taking a lot of vacation days (PTO in corporate speak). I worked maybe half of December and still didn’t use all my vacation days. Friday afternoons are like ghost towns, and if the weather isn’t terrible, traffic is lighter with so many people home. Any holiday that can inspire less meetings and workplace meshugas is pretty cool in my book.
Inspiring Fun Jewish Events
Even if you don’t participate in any Christmas activities, Christmas still inspires us Jews to plan some great events. For about 15 years I played football on the Metrodome field for the annual Tzedakah Bowl, only recently stopping because it feels like the players have gotten younger and stronger and better (not that I’ve gotten any older in the last 15 years, just that everyone else there has gotten younger, I’m sure you understand). For several years I also went to the Jewbilee event put on by Jewish Community Action, and it sounds like another fun party is planned this year. Most of us get the days off anyway, may as well have some fun.
Inspiring a Song
Music is hit and miss at the holidays. For the most part I’m tired of hearing the same songs over and over, and the equally irritating various versions of those same songs. There are a few exceptions, most notably Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas, but for the most part being in any retail location in December makes me cringe and want to wear earplugs.
But here’s the unexpected twist.
Christmas inspired me musically in a different way this year. It’s beyond explanation, really, but this year I decided I wanted to write and record an original Christmas song (I’m that typical weekend musician who got Garage Band a while back and became convinced I could write and record music). We all know many of the great Christmas songs were written by Jews, and now the only thing keeping me off that list is that the song isn’t great. But maybe it doesn’t suck. Regardless, with the help of my singer April, we recorded a new song for your Christmas (Jewish or traditional) celebrations, titled “A Minnesota Christmas.” It’s kind of a jazzy R&B feel, if you are into that sort of thing.
If you want to hear the song, here it is. A Minnesota Christmas And while you listen, consider participating in another great Christmas inspiration, charitable giving. Since you are already spending part of Christmas time enjoying TC Jewfolk, consider a donation to help keep this great site running. I’ll tell you what. For each “Like” of this article/song, I’ll donate money to the site also. So enjoy the song. And happy holidays. And I’ll talk to you next year.
Image courtesy of feelart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net