Dec 23

Christmas Vs. Hanukah: The Uncomfortably Gritty Knife Fight to the Bitter Winter Holiday Death

This is my most recent back-page. It is also my least favorite to date. Enjoy(?)


As the deadline for this back-page loomed closer and closer, I began to grow a wee bit sad. Though December’s landscape is, obviously, dominated by Christmas (yes, Christmas, Hanukkah lovers), I realized that January contains no significant holidays. Sure, there’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but does anyone even know who that is? For January’s issue I’m going to have to…gulpthink of an actual, original idea. How terrifying. Nevertheless, for now I’m just not going to think about that. Instead, I’m going to focus on the wonderment that is the holiday season. Regardless of what you celebrate, the holidays are always a nice time for everyone. It’s universally a time for family, friendliness, and buying things. Still, for many this wonderful time of year ends up being a source of serious conflict. Families fight, food gets knocked over, I get Grandpa drunk and steal money from his wallet – it can be quite the fiasco. Yet the greatest conflict of the holiday season seems to stem from an age old debate that traces its roots all the way to the 1950s: which is better, Christmas or Hanukkah?

On the one hand, we have Christmas, which is a lot like the going to Dylan’s Candy Bar of holidays. The occasion comes roughly once a year, and when it comes, you’re just so happy that all you can do is get overwhelmed and start crying until your parents have to pull you out of the store by the hand, sniveling. Hanukkah, on the other hand, is like the house squatting of holidays. House squatting, for those of you who have never been homeless, is the practice of breaking into vacant homes, and living in them while their tenants are away. When house squatting, there’s the initial excitement of breaking a window and crawling into the basement/cellar of the house, the steady joy of running around a stranger’s home in your undies, singing Tom Jones songs and wasting all of his or her wifi bandwidth (get at me, “Jay’s wifi”), and the ultimate sense of weariness of having to defend yourself from the homeowner when they discover you in his or her bed.

The classic argument for Hanukkah supporters, otherwise known as Jews, is that eight days of presents are better than one. While this is valid, eight nights of gifts can be hard to handle when you’re receiving things like “The Terrifying Tooth: A Beginner’s Guide to Oral Hygiene” (I get it mother, you want me to buy another brand of toothpaste. Hanukkah is not the forum through which to tell me that).  I also think that, to an extent, parents take Hanukkah as an excuse to buy fewer presents. Because there are eight nights, parents think that they can give a small gift every night, and that will add up to a Christmas haul because of the frequency of gift giving. Rarely, however, is this the case. Parents who celebrate Christmas tend to splurge because Christmas only comes once a year.

Nonetheless, though Hanukkah may lose in the gift-giving department, it certainly wins in the food department. Latkes, jelly donuts, applesauce, challah. It’s delicious. Don’t misunderstand me; I like a Christmas ham or goose as much as the next guy (just kidding, both of those things are disgusting). Regardless, there’s just no competition, especially when you factor in that Jews get to eat a special meal on Christmas as well– Chinese food. Now you may be saying to yourself, “What’s so special about Chinese food? I eat that every day for lunch” (if you consider Golden Duck food). Well that may be true, but that’s also why no one ever talks to you after lunch. There’s something exciting about the tradition of it, even if it’s something that one might do on any other day.

So thus far into the article, we have both Hanukkah and Christmas taking one category a piece. As a result, the holiday winner will be based on which provides a greater risk of fire to a home, because fire is awesome. Hanukkah would seem to present the greater risk, considering the holiday inherently involves fire. However, Christmas is unjustly underrated, especially if you use a real tree. Between the dry timber, the crackle of a fireplace, and the likelihood of you burning your gingerbread-men, there are a lot of opportunities to burn your house down. Thus, unfortunately, it looks like a draw. I don’t know how you can decide between two holidays that so effectively pose such a dangerous risk to the safety of your home. I guess we’ll just have to declare New Year’s Eve the winner of the holiday horserace. They are making that substantive, engaging movie “New Year’s Day” about it, after all. Everyone have a nice holiday season.

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