I read an article recently. I don’t have the link any more, but it was headed something like: I’m Jewish. Please wish me Merry Christmas. The article went on to explain that although in the author’s family Christmas wasn’t celebrated, the day was meaningful to him as a day off – a day when they, as a family, did joyful things together that were out or the ordinary.

I get it. I remember, all through my childhood, spending Christmas Day in the home of my aunt, uncle and cousins, eating different foods, doing different things. So when I changed schools at the age of eleven and was introduced to Christmas carols, drawing Christmas trees and exchanging Christmas cards, I joined in. In any case, my aim at school was always to fit in, even though I never succeeded.

The trend continued to university and work. Christmas was always a special time, so it seemed natural to exchange Christmas greetings with everyone.

Then I moved to Israel and, for the first time, Christmas didn’t exist, apart from a few cards I still sent to and received from friends abroad. Christmas Day was spent at work. That’s been the case for most of my time here. Recently, with social media and the ability to listen to BBC Radio 4, the prominence of Christmas has again increased, but it’s still not part of my life. That’s the difference between me and the author of that linkless article. He lives in the US while I live in Israel.  Like him, I’m not offended when someone wishes me Merry Christmas, but for me it’s meaningless.

“Yes, but even if you don’t celebrate it, you do something special on that day,” people say.

“Actually, no.”

However, this year, I will be celebrating Chanuka at the same time as Christmas, lighting candles and eating doughnuts at home and at folk dancing.

Chanuka2012Miriam

Celebrating the sixth night of Chanuka in 2012

But Chanuka isn’t time off, except for schoolchildren and teachers. And us, last year:

Chanuka and Christmas in Vietnam

David Drori celebrating the 7th night of Chanuka in Vietnam, 2018

Whatever you do, enjoy the next few days, the whole of 2020 and every other year. May whatever you wish for come to fruition.

While America is gorging itself for Thanksgiving and the rest of the world is busy stocking up on Christmas presents, we’re celebrating Chanukah. And doing a bit of gorging ourselves.

The photo I posted last year came out so well, I had to post it again.

Chanuka2012Miriam

Along with my favourite of all the Chanukah songs, although I didn’t find a version I really liked.

I have to admit, it’s 37 years since I attended an office Christmas party. Or any Christmas party for that matter. So when Sally Quilford suggested holding an online party for those of us who don’t work in an office, I thought, why not?

To celebrate, here is a picture of me holding a green doughnut on the sixth night of Chanukah.

Chanuka2012Miriam

If you want to join in the fun, the main party is over on Facebook.