aired Nov. 15, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugLGtx38doQ
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 17, 2014.
Merry Christmas, non-Jewish listeners! A very merry Christmas and Yuletide to all the goyim within the sound of my strident voice! Jingle bells, glad tidings, joyeux Noel – whatever the hell that means — Merry Chris — wait, what? You mean it’s not Christmas? You mean it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and Christmas is a month and a half away?
Well, you wouldn’t know it. Not from the TV commercials. Not from the music they play in the department stores. Not from the displays in Walgreens and Walmart and K-Mart and K.Y. and why is it Christmas already when it isn’t December 25th for another 35 days?
We all know why, of course. It’s because America needs to sell you crap as much and as often as possible. The home shopping networks and the mall shopping outlets want to get you in the money-spending spirit as soon as they can. If they could start next year’s holiday sales on December 26th at midnight, they would. In fact, they already almost do. In the middle of July, QVC and HLN and the CIA are doing infomercials for ornaments. “Make sure you order them now, people, so
they arrive by August — just in time for Christmas.”
As a Jew, but not just as a Jew, but mainly as a Jew, I object to all this haranguing, day after day after day over a holiday I do not believe in and couldn’t care less about. You wanna put up some lights on the weekend before Christmas, and maybe start the Ruh-puh-pum-pum on your drum a week or two before the holiday? Be my guest, and buy me something nice. But stop with the Yuletide cheer when I haven’t even gotten all the matzoh out of my colon from Passover yet!
I have spoken before and elsewhere about the pressure Jews feel to morph Chanukah into a Yuletide-like holiday…Chrismakkah…a concept which fills me with enough loathing to stuff a Santa suit. They are not similar holidays; they are not equivalent holidays. And yet, because they fall at the same time of year, Yiddlach feel compelled to match their neighbors gift for gift, light for light, stupid singalong for stupid singalong. The only thing that keeps me from jamming hot knitting needles through my eardrums this time of year is Adam Sandler, and even that song wears out its welcome by its third spin. Try playing “Here Comes Chanukah” as often as Rite Aid plays “The Christmas Song,” and you’ll want to open every bottle in the pharmacy and swallow till the pain stops.
Holiday overkill is bad enough two or three weeks out of the year, but a whole month? You got radio stations that play only Christmas music. Some stores block off entire sections for stocking stuffers the day after Labor Day. Just stop it! Stop it! Nobody’s roasting chestnuts on an open anything. If grandma’s getting run over, it’s by grandpa’s Rascal, not a reindeer.
And I know Christmas is an excuse for people to do nice things and feel good about themselves. Soldiers stuck in a sandpit in Trashcanistan have a chance to come home and see their families because it’s Christmas. Why the army can’t do that on Groundhog Day just the same is beyond me, but okay. It’s like supermarkets that give the destitute free turkey on Thanksgiving. Fantastic — homeless people have a dozen meal options on Thanksgiving Day. The day after Thanksgiving? Pfftth. Back to 99-cent pizza and Spaghettios.
Still, if we use the holiday as an impetus to be better humans and do more good, even the cranky, miserable misanthrope in me cannot object to that. But the time leading up to the holiday is about nothing more than marketing and selling and forced, fake, phony good cheer. It’s all too much, too soon, and if I sound like the Grinch, so be it. Especially since I’m not trying to steal Christmas. I just want to hide it for awhile, like the Afikomen, so that, as an accountant would say, the interest appreciates.
No Marine comes home on special leave November 8th. Nobody’s donating cans to the food bank on December 12th. We’re subjected to the hype but not the help. I say, if big business must turn Christmas into a season-long capitalist orgy, at least give out condoms of compassion to go with it.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York. Ooh, only 288 shopping days until Simchas Torah!
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