The second November begins people begin to focus on Christmas. There is only Halloween and then we go straight to Christmas. People seem to forget Thanksgiving but everyone always seems to be super excited when it comes to Christmas or the days leading up to Christmas. The radio stations are filled with Christmas music and restaurants and other buildings are getting into the Christmas spirit. Tuscaloosa even has trees decorated for Christmas with a barbeque restaurant decorating one of the trees.
Growing up as the Jewish friend in all my friend groups except my Jewish friend group people would always ask me what I would do on Christmas. Before I could answer someone would say "Y'all go to the movies and eat Chinese food right?", while this is a stereotype and after that person is bopped on the head for being ignorant I respond with "We look at Christmas Day as the way we look at any other day". This startles people because they have grown up celebrating Christmas as the day and are not used to hearing anything different.
Christmas has always been just a day to me. My family and I would spend it together and we did not see it any different than most days. We did not go get Chinese food or go to the movie theatre but we would find ways to enjoy the day. It still confuses many of my friends when I tell them I don't do anything on Christmas but that has always been the case. I grew up in a small Jewish community and Alabama does not have as many Jews as people think.
In fact, some of my friends have told me I was the first Jew they had ever met. Judaism is a part of my life and I have never tried to succumb to my surroundings. I do like Christmas movies and the food but that does not make me a bad Jew. Christmas is celebrated by some people it just is not celebrated by me.
Growing up everyone seems to look forward to two days out of the year: Christmas and their birthday. With the idea that they will get lots of toys and toys are fun. For me, I looked forward to Hanukkah and my birthday for the same reason but Hanukkah is not like Christmas.
Hanukkah is not a major holiday for the Jewish people and the only reason it is affiliated with Christmas is for marketing purposes. I love Hanukkah just because it is something that I can teach my friends about and the best way to explain how I celebrate Christmas is by saying that I celebrate Christmas the way my friends celebrate Hanukkah: by not celebrating it. While something may be different for someone's lifestyle it does not mean we need to change it to satisfy them.
So while I may not celebrate Christmas it does not mean I will forget about wishing my friends a Merry Christmas or be like Ebenezer Scrooge. I still enjoy how people celebrate Christmas but I just do not celebrate it. I know my friends love Christmas and I hope they all have a Merry Christmas.