fbpx
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Why Does Christmas Start in October?

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Have you noticed that Christmas seems to come earlier each year? It’s technically on Dec. 25, but in terms of that tangible moment when the Christmas “spirit” starts, it’s more like October. Maybe even September.

I swear I saw Christmas tree ornaments at a crafts store in late August. I may be Jewish, but to me, that’s sacrilegious.

Speaking of sacrilegious, Puritans in Boston in 1659 made it a criminal offense to publicly celebrate Christmas, alleging a certain sinfulness in all the merrymaking. Maybe someone had put up decorations a little too soon and angered the towns-folk. That law was among those revoked in 1681.

I’m one of those Jews who loves singing along to nonreligious Christmas tunes — more “Jingle Bell Rock” and less “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” And although I love all the decorations in the stores and on the streets, their early arrival is becoming ridiculous.

There must be some psychological reasons behind all this.

Scientists theorize putting up Christmas decorations earlier makes people happier, according to a November 2017 story in London’s Evening Standard. “In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood,” psychoanalyst Steve McKeown said.

I guess because we’re living in a time of such divisiveness, maybe some early holiday cheer can help lift our moods. I recall there were some Democrats who went overboard with holiday decor after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. If he is re-elected next year, they may have to start their own reindeer farm.

“Therapy reindeer” could be a huge draw.

Still, I’m not convinced that the Christmas “spirit” seems to arrive earlier each year because we are more stressed.

I’m not convinced that the Christmas “spirit” seems to arrive earlier each year because we are more stressed.

I wondered if Jews in Israel catch the Hanukkah bug early. If the Christmas “spirit” is unleashed early because we’re under so much stress, wouldn’t it make sense for Israelis — who endure proxy wars, rocket attacks and relentless international demonization — to start celebrating Hanukkah three months early?

“The only sign of Hanukkah before it actually starts is all the sufganiyot (doughnuts) that seem to pop up right after the High Holy Days,” a friend in Israel observed.

Early arrival of doughnuts. Now there’s an inspiring holiday consumer trend.

I asked a friend who is in her 90s if she recalled the holiday season in the early 1940s. The U.S. was embroiled in a world war and collective stress was palpable, so by all reasoning, the Christmas spirit should have been evident months before December.

“Not at all,” she said. “Stores put up decorations two, maybe three weeks before Christmas. Anything earlier than that would have been too suggestive.”

Too suggestive of what? I asked.

“It would have seemed like Christmas was all about money and spending money at the stores, instead of something more meaningful.”

Bingo. Money, money, money.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but money considerations aside, it seems silly for Jews to kick off the Hanukkah holiday weeks or months in advance.

Maybe Jews, whether in Israel or the United States, simply don’t feel the need to “go all out” once a year because we light candles every week — on Shabbat.

You don’t have to keep all the laws of Shabbat to be affected by its power to “decorate” your home and lift your mood with all things wonderful: food, family and even the good china plates,  which others normally reserve for only Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I still love the holiday spirit, even if it starts ridiculously early. But because Jews excel at complaining, would it kill someone to pass out the doughnuts a little earlier next year?


Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based writer and speaker.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Missouri Gov. Signs Anti-BDS Bill Into Law

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill into law on July 13 barring the state government from providing contracts to companies that...

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Ilhan Omar Endorsed by Nancy Pelosi as Opponent Raises Millions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, lent her considerable weight to the reelection bid of Rep. Ilhan...

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized for Suspected Infection

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been hospitalized with a suspected infection. A Supreme Court statement said Ginsburg, 87, “is resting...

Israelis May Be Limited to Spending High Holidays With Nuclear Family, Report Says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Health Ministry is considering ordering Israelis to limit their Rosh Hashanah celebrations to only their nuclear families, an Israeli newspaper...

ADL Hosts Discussion on Passage of Georgia Hate Crime Law

In a July 10 Zoom webinar, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) discussed how Georgia was able pass and have signed into law its recent hate...

‘Hamilton’ Reminds Us to Forgive Before We Condemn

"Hamilton" got me thinking about the concept of forgiveness and the equally powerful concept of rehabilitation.

Tovah Feldshuh Talks Golda Meir, Grandchildren and Voting

Feldshuh has been using the time to write a memoir about her mother, getting to know her first grandson and awaiting the birth of two granddaughters.  

Culture

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Tovah Feldshuh Talks Golda Meir, Grandchildren and Voting

Feldshuh has been using the time to write a memoir about her mother, getting to know her first grandson and awaiting the birth of two granddaughters.  

Life’s a Jewish Love Story for Disney Songwriting Duo

If you’re the parent of Disney-obsessed offspring, you’ve likely heard their music in the “Zombies” and “High School Musical” franchises and “Marvel Rising.”

ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman on Overseeing College Like a Theater Director

While many university presidents and administrators run colleges from a strictly business or educational mindset, Lorne Buchman runs college like a director would run...

Latest Articles
Latest

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Missouri Gov. Signs Anti-BDS Bill Into Law

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill into law on July 13 barring the state government from providing contracts to companies that...

Jewish Women’s Theatre Stages ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ Via Zoom

The tales and musical interludes about life, love and loss, are variously funny, empowering, and heartbreaking.

Ilhan Omar Endorsed by Nancy Pelosi as Opponent Raises Millions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, lent her considerable weight to the reelection bid of Rep. Ilhan...

Andy Cohen Gets Candid in New Quibi Series ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries’

Is there such a thing as too much information? Apparently, not for Andy Cohen. The gossip-loving Bravo talk show host gets extremely candid in “The...

Hollywood

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

‘Expecting Amy’ Highlights a New Comedy Dynamic of Jewish Mothers Making, Not Being, the Jokes

Jewish moms like Amy Schumer, who were once the material, have become the premier comics of this age.

Podcasts

Alon Aranya: Introducing the show “Tehran”

Shmuel Rosner and Alon Aranya discuss the show "Tehran" - coming soon to AppleTV. Alon talks about the uniqueness of Israeli Tv and its...

Cancel Culture, Pro-LGBTQ Palestinian Tahini and Coronavirus Weddings

Naor and Eytan talk about everything that's been going on in Israel lately. 

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x