Chrismukkah: It's in the Cards

December 2005

Take a deep breath, it's that time of year again: reindeer, ornaments, holly leaves, and brightly wrapped presents; all-night baking marathons; frenzied dashes around the shopping mall; wintry travel itineraries for some, musical beds for others accommodating holiday visitors; and dizzying credit card debt for all, and to all a good night.

For years well-intentioned souls have fretted over the consumerization of Christmas. Heck, every year since 1966, CBS has sold advertising spots for A Charlie Brown Christmas, a show that laments loss of the "true meaning" of Christmas due to the relentless "commercialization" of the holiday. Talk about mixed signals!

Many still ask whether Christmas, having been absorbed and homogenized by the big-tent secular "season," retains any relevance for Christians as a major religious event.

We would ask, contrarily, if Christmas should be seen as a major religious event. In this section of our March 2005 issue, we discussed the idea of a fellow on National Public Radio that we ought to forget the "profanation" of "fruitlessly" trying to put Christ back into Christmas. Rather, his reasoning went, we should "take Christ out of Christmas" and let it be "the secular holiday it has already become."

As further evidence of the decline of Christmas as a serious religious occasion, we submit "Chrismukkah." A growing phenomenon that sprung out of a primetime TV show called The O.C. (which we admit to never watching), Chrismukkah is a newly minted interfaith "holiday" that melds together Christmas and Hanukkah for the benefit of mixed Christian and Jewish families who celebrate either both or neither of the two religious occasions.


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New Oxford Notes: December 2005

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