Santa Claus & Jewish People

Like a lot of children, I grew up as a huge fan of Santa Claus.  Good lord, I just loved thinking about the jolly guy coming to our homes and dropping off presents, enjoying cookies I left for him on the kitchen table, and if I started misbehaving – my parents would warn me about Santa’s list of children who’ve been naughty or nice and I’d immediately correct my behavior. 

Santa is one of the finest human beings on the planet, in fact, there’s a part of me who still loves the guy, I mean, how can you not love Santa Claus?  But the other day I started to think about what other religions might think of Santa Claus, in particular, what Jewish kids must go through growing up in a country that’s so infatuated with the man in red. 

I imagine the conversation going like this:

Jewish boy and mother walking through Willow Grove Mall and walk by Santa Claus cabin where he’s getting photographed with adoring kids and elves. 

Jewish Boy:  Mom, who is Santa Claus?
Jewish Mom:  Oh, he’s this mythical figure that some people believe in.  On Christmas each year, he comes to all of their homes and delivers presents.
Jewish Boy:  I heard he gives presents to all of my friends, how does he get to all of those places in one night?
Jewish Mom:  The legend has it that he travels on flying reindeer and then sneaks into their houses through their chimney.  His presents are manufactured by elves of diminutive stature.
Jewish Boy:  How come he doesn’t deliver presents to us
Jewish Mom:  Well, he only delivers presents to people of a particular faith – Christianity.
Jewish Boy:  I think we should become Christian.

It’s funny because Jewish people are probably put in this wacky situation of explaining this completely irrational story over and over to their children because of all the Christmas decorations, Christmas songs, and Christmas Specials that are ubiquitous at this time of year.  I think Jewish people should create some wacky mythical character of their own, let’s call him Grandpa SeaBass and make up all kinds of bizarre folklore and music to force Christian parents to explain it.  In addition to Grandpa SeaBass, we must include stories about his most famous Hermit Crab, Randy the Red Clawed Hermit Crab.  Unfortunately, Hannakah is so literal, you really can’t embellish too much.  I mean, one vial of oil burned for 8 days doesn’t leave much to the imagination and it’s not that juicy of a story, if someone came up to me at work and told me that I had to sit down because they had the most amazing story to tell me and then they proceeded to tell me about a vial of oil burning for 8 days, I’d probably say, “Okay, that’s pretty cool, nice job.”  If someone told me the whole Christmas thing, I’d be like, “Holy smokes my man, whatever drugs you’re on, I want some.” 

I’m not sure what the point of this entry is, I guess it’s just really funny to me that innocent bystanders have to perpetuate this pretty bizarre story and if I was Jewish, I might be tempted to think that us Santa lovers might be a little looney.  I doubt anyone complains though, it’s very rare that something makes so many people so very happy, it’s just funny that this wacky little story generates so much happiness, most retail store’s entire livelihood completely depend on this story, and this story generates so much generosity and giving.  Maybe we don’t need an economic bailout, we might just need another story, Mr. Obama may need to consider introducing Grandpa SeaBass.

9 thoughts on “Santa Claus & Jewish People

  1. I think that instead of another mythical creature, we might need a new religion altogether. Then you could incorporate Grandpa Seabass into the holiday season with stories of absurdity. You might even be able to renew my belief in religion too.Cool entry. And Santa Claus does exist. He just doesn’t go to California. It’s too damn hot to wear that big furry suit of his.


  2. dave sedaris tells this story (“7 or 8 large black men” in dress your family in denim and courdoroy) about santa in the netherlands where santa has 8 black slaves, puts presents in childrens shoes, puts naughy children in a sack and beats them, has a part time job as the bishop of spain. Also there is no easter bunny in france, but a giant silver bell that delivers treats. Its a messed up world.


  3. this might sound dumb, but why do they exchange presents during hanukah?it didn’t start out as a gift giving thing like christmas symbolizes. did they start exchanging gifts to keep up with modern christmas practices?


  4. I might be wrong about this but: People give christmas presents because the wise men gave the baby Jesus presents and because his life is a gift from God. I believe the rationale behind presents during Hanukkah is that the oil burning for 8 days was a present, so Jewish people give presents to represent that.


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