‘Happy Holidays!” is the refrain of the season. It is usually conveniently disregarded that Hanukkah never quite coincides with this “holiday season,” sometimes falling as early as Thanksgiving. But that’s OK — we appreciate attempts to include us, as distracted and strained as they sometimes are, often backed by an underlying annoyance at the refusal of some to just get in on the holiday.

“It doesn’t even have religious meaning anymore; it’s more of a secular holiday” is an argument often heard by my mother, whose friends can’t understand why we don’t even have a tree, for goodness sake. We do understand. It’s fun, it’s a good chance to see family or to just relax. It gives the kids incentive to behave.

We want you to have this chance. We like the “goodwill toward men” vibes, and the jolly fat man who delivers toys and candy to children.

All we ask is that you do not see a movie or get Chinese food on Christmas. Take a couple of weeks off school and work; just remember what Christmas is really about. Christmas is for the Jews.

That might seem like a silly claim. Christ is in the very name of the holiday. Of course it’s for the Christians! However, one important point is not being addressed: The holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus. Jesus was Jewish, circumcised, a bar mitzvah, the whole kit and caboodle.

Basically, Christmas is a big Jewish birthday party with the cultural additions of ham and jello salad. However, celebrations tend to vary.

No group is as reliable and steady in the celebration of Christmas as the Jews. Even within the separate factions of Christianity, traditions greatly vary from person to person, like going to church or watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Jews have one way to do it: We see a movie and eat Chinese food. Every year, in multitudes, without exception. We can prove it. It was highlighted in “Saturday Night Live’s” “Christmas Time for the Jews.”

We only want this one thing for ourselves. We are the true traditionalists, and we are fond of our way of celebrating.

The biggest reason people should leave the movies and Chinese food for the Jews is that the only thing we ask is the theater to ourselves. We smile and nod as people ask how our Christmas went; we grin and bear it as our kids are asked what Santa brought them. This patience is inspired by the fact that we know we got something good out of it. If everybody invades the movie theaters and Chinese restaurants on Christmas, there are no upsides for us. Then what happens? What happens is you get a multitude of Scrooges.

We don’t want to be party poopers, but if there’s no party for us, we’re not bringing the pleasantries. No more Jewish delis; you’ll have to make your own pastrami. Also, don’t expect any more hit Christmas songs, because we won’t write them — no more “White Christmas.”

Please, just leave the movies for us. It’s all we get on Christmas — no presents, no ham, just Chinese food and a flick. Our kids don’t spoil Santa Claus for the other kids and all we ask in return is one day to ourselves.

You can have your Chinese food and movie any other day of the year.


Carolyn Toenges, of Mendota Heights, is a student at the University of Wisconsin.