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Beating Santa

December 3, 2018

This is the start of Hanukkah, and Michael Lukas sounds ready to toss it out, after pondering its origin:

Hanukkah, in essence, commemorates the triumph of fundamentalism over cosmopolitanism. Our assimilationist answer to Christmas is really a holiday about subjugating assimilated Jews. The more I thought about all this, the more it disturbed me. For what am I if not a Hellenized Jew? (O.K., an Americanized Jew, but what’s the difference, really?)

In the end, he decides to celebrate Hanukkah, not because he realizes its origin no longer matters to his current family tradition, but “because at the end of the day, it’s all about beating Santa.”

It’s nice being entirely secular during the winter holidays. One can hang eclectic symbols and decorations, attend everyone’s parties, eat each culture’s food, drink whatever nog one wants, enjoy the company of family and friends. And never once worry about how that fits — or not — with any religion. Any interesting history behind those traditions one can take simply as history, without any obligation on the present.

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