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Christmas FAQ

Most everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas

The Editors
December 25, 2011

What is Christmas?

For Christians, Christmas is the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they consider to be the son of God and their savior. For Jews, it’s often seen as an occasion to go to a movie and eat Chinese food.

When is Christmas?

Christmas falls, as it does every year, on December 25.

What’s it all about?

Charlie Brown had the exact same question. And Linus had a pretty good answer.

Any bad guys?

We don’t know if Romeo Muller, Jules Bass, and Arthur Rankin Jr.—the trio behind many of TV’s beloved holiday classics, from Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph—are Jewish, but their gallery of Christmas villains suggests an obsession with a certain mustachioed despot. In Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (narrated by Fred Astaire!), they’ve given us Burgermeister Meisterburger, a dictator with a thick German accent who vants to ban all ze toys from his town. And Frosty’s nemesis is a failed artist with a mustache who answers to the name Hinkle. To balance it out a bit, they also created The Little Drummer Boy’s Ben Haramed, a desert-dwelling shyster eager to make off with decent folks’ money by selling them tawdry entertainment.

What do we eat?

If you’re going the traditional non-Jewish route there’s great variety including eggnog, panettone, stollen, bûche de noël, and goose. If you’re going traditional Jewish, you’ll likely eat Chinese on this day.

Any dos and don’ts?

Many Jews celebrate this holiday telling themselves Hanukkah is far more sensible.

Anything good to read?

This. Or, for a Yiddishized twist on “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” check this out.

Anything else to do?

• Remember who you are by singing the praises of famous Jews.
• Give tribute to the badass who started it all
• Lament having nothing to watch on TV every December.
• Hope you get what you want for Christmas.
• Read about the greatest Christmas song ever written, and the Jew who wrote it.

From the editors of Tablet Magazine.