Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah. I posted “Happy Hanukkah” on my Snapchat story last night, but only a few of my Jewish friends responded to it. Why did this happen? Well, Hanukkah is not nearly as commercialized as Christmas. If you think about it, most American teenagers are more accustomed to saying either “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Hanukkah”.
Take me for example; I’m an Asian-American, a non-Christian, yet I celebrate Christmas every year. In fact, my family has put up a Christmas tree and hung stockings above our fireplace without even knowing the story behind it. Now, I’m not going to say that all non-Christians celebrate Christmas, but it’s safe to assume that many do. According to the Pew Research Center, eight in ten non-Christians celebrate Christmas. Why? In the United States, the holiday season is for everyone. If you don’t celebrate at least one holiday, you’re left out from all the festivities occurring at the end of the year.
As soon as Thanksgiving ends, many people start playing Christmas tunes, rewatching old holiday movies and begin to procrastinate on their holiday shopping. In December, Spotify starts busting out their creative advertisements to help encourage people to upgrade their current subscriptions to Spotify premium. And if that isn’t it, Netflix brings a ton of holiday movies back for people to enjoy with their families. This creates a lot of “hype” and excitement for Christmas, even though it comes near the end of December. But, the meaning of Christmas isn’t going on skiing trips with friends, nor is it making gingerbread houses. It’s to celebrate the birth of Christ. Last year, I learned that Jesus Christ was not actually born on Christmas day. Recently, I looked up the phrase “meaning behind Christmas”, and something caught my eye from Wikipedia. It states that Christmas is an annual festival that is BOTH religious and cultural. When I looked up “meaning behind Hanukkah” on Wikipedia, the first phrase that caught my eye was “eight-day Jewish celebration”, thus making Hanukkah only a religious celebration. In all honesty, I have no idea how Hanukkah works, and I don’t want to try interpreting it because I might offend a Jewish person.
Why is Christmas both religious and cultural, while Hanukkah is only religious? If you ask anyone that question, chances are that most people will state that Christmas has been commercialized, while Hanukkah has (thankfully) escaped from being preyed and profited on. For example, Elf on the Shelf has become increasingly popular among families as a holiday tradition, but it has nothing to do with the original meaning of Christmas. According to Fox News, Christians should be blamed for the commercialization of Christmas. The author of the article, Janet Morana, claims that the best way to reverse the commercialization would be to buy products that are centered around Jesus Christ. Do you agree with Morana’s approach; are Christians really to blame for ambitious companies trying to maximize their profits during the holiday season, and can we reverse their effects on us?
Leave your thoughts below!