It’s that time again. That time when people ask, “What are you doing for Christmas this year?”
When I worked at a publishing company in Boston, people asked me about my Christmas plans a lot. I said my usual, “I am Jewish, and I celebrate Hanukkah.”
One woman’s response was, “Well, some Jews celebrate Christmas.” She told me this two years in a row.
Having grown up in a Christmas-centered culture, I can tell you that the “holiday” in holiday season does not refer to my holiday. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon with holiday parties, holiday cards, and holiday music. I participated in holiday concerts throughout grade school; I recall the lyrics to nearly every Christmas carol and Christmas-related song over twenty years later. I have forgotten many of the words to the Hanukkah songs I grew up singing with my family. I hum along at Hanukkah sing-alongs.
I celebrate in my own special way. I enjoy going to Hanukkah parties, watching the lighting of menorahs and the flickering of the lights. I also immerse myself in Jewish music. The lively melodies uplift my spirit. This year I loved listening to Shir Soul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtlLHwk9_Rw
I feel revived when I honor my holiday this way. I feel honored when others observe and acknowledge the passing of my holiday. How refreshing to hear “Happy Hanukkah!” Such words I hold dear to my heart.
How are you celebrating Hanukkah this year?