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A Day in the Life of a Jew: Christmas Edition

Audrey Hancock

Audrey Hancock

Jason Eisengart, Staff writer

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 December 25. Sure, it’s a big holiday off of work, and for some, a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But if you are of the Jewish persuasion,   like me, what are you going to do?

  While most people in the country celebrate Christmas in one way or another, Jews have had to adapt to the season and find some way to spend the holiday.

  Probably the most well-known tradition that Jews take part in on Christmas is eating Chinese food. According to the International Business Times, Jews started going out to Chinese on Christmas because A) “Chinese restaurants are always open on Christmas” and B) “Chinese food — which does not include dairy in most of its main dishes — was not breaking their dietary laws that prohibit mixing dairy and meat;” in other words, people could stay Kosher (ibtimes.com).

  Alongside eating Chinese food, watching movies has also become a well-known Jewish Christmas tradition. “Like Chinese restaurants, movie theaters are open on Christmas when little else is, and seeing a film is a great way to spend time with family without having to talk to them” (ibtimes.com). All jokes about not wanting to actually speak to family members aside, when so many businesses are actually closed on December 25, theaters are a smart place to go.

  Not celebrating Christmas does not mean Jews don’t get into the spirit of giving. According to a website about Jewish culture and traditions, “Jewish people often volunteer to work on Christmas. This allows their Christian co-workers to get the day off, and gives the Jewish worker an extra day off at some other time of the year” (jewfaq.org). Having Jewish employees has its benefits. Plus, some hourly jobs pay overtime for working on holidays!

  Of course, not all Jews do the same thing or adhere to the same traditions on Christmas. Senior Adam Celniker said, “My family goes to the zoo or the Wild Animal Park because there are fewer people.”

  Jews don’t just rely on working or theaters to get into the spirit of the holiday. Many Jews prefer to spend their Christmas with friends or family. “Most people have the day off from work, so it can be a great time to catch up with family members and spend a relaxing day together. Some Jews also enjoy hanging out with their Christian friend on Christmas — after all, there’s plenty to the holiday that doesn’t involve specific religious traditions” (ibtimes.com). Hey, why not invite a Jewish friend to your celebration?

  It might seem like going to Disneyland or another such theme park would be an excellent way for a Jewish family to spend their Christmas, but that is not really the case. According to TripAdvisor, “Christmas Day is one of the most crowded of the entire year. In fact, Christmas week through New Year’s Day is said to be their busiest week” (TripAdvisor.com). Not only is the park filled with the families who wanted to have a Christmas celebration at Disneyland, but it is also packed with all of the non-Christian families who thought that the park would not be crowded on Christmas Day.

  Even though Jews do not have a ham to eat, eggnog to drink, or fat men in red and white suits to bring them gifts, they have plenty of traditions to make sure their Christmas  Day  is not a  Christmas drag.

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A Day in the Life of a Jew: Christmas Edition