1. Get your Scrooge on before the big day. If you make it really obvious to your neighbors that you hate Christmas, they’ll at least leave you out of the Christmas card pool. So when you start to hear caroling, place a prominent menorah in your window, turn the lights off and scowl. When your neighbors send out tasteless Christmas-themed sugar cookies, refuse them if they aren’t kosher and then send them Hanukkah cookies so good they’ll think twice about their Christianity. And only RSVP to parties that are non-denominational.
2. Throw a rager. Show off your heritage to your non-religious friends — with alcohol. In other words, now is the time to throw the best Hanukkah party anyone has ever seen. Erect a shot glass menorah so you can do a fire shot for each night of the holiday, thereby making Jews look way more badass than any gentiles you know. Break out bottles of Manischewitz and get trashed like it’s your cousin’s bar mitzvah. Only now you don’t have to write anyone a check for turning 13.
3. See movies way better than “Arthur Christmas.” Sure, this year’s requisite Christmas movie, “Arthur Christmas,” looks kind of cute. But as your Santa-loving friends are dragged to that movie during winter break with their families, you have an excuse to see better movies (Check our movie preview on page 6 for some ideas).
But it’d probably be wise to ditch the theatres entirely and set yourself up for a Jewish movie marathon on your couch. Watch the best in Jewish cinema — “Schindler’s List,” “Inglorious Bastards,” anything by Woody Allen or the Coen Brothers or starring Jerry Seinfeld, Natalie Portman, or Dustin Hoffman. Basically, the best in cinema. Period. Take that, “Polar Express.”
4. Be a better Jew. It’d be kind of hypocritical to knock on Christmas without fully appreciating your own heritage. After all, just as there’s more to Christmas than Santa Claus and department store sales, there’s more to Hanukkah than eight presents, gelt and dreidels. So use this time of year to actually go to synagogue for once. Break out your old mitzvah Torah and brush up on your Hebrew. Or, if you’re on the more secular side, at least delve into some Jewish history at the library or on Wikipedia.
Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah doesn’t have all the consumerism and overplayed lore to wear it out. Enjoy it while it lasts. And, most importantly, spend time with the best and worst part about being Jewish — your family.