As a Jewish chap I grew up celebrating Hanukkah. It’s a pretty good holiday with more than it’s share of worthy attributes. The menorah, potato pancakes and a compelling backstory. But as a pragmatist, I’m always looking for improvement. And here is where I think Hanukkah could learn a thing or two from Christmas.
Christmas is a holiday with its act together. First of all, what’s up with the spelling? Hanukkah, Chanukah, sometimes Chanukkah. Pick one already, Judaism. Christmas is spelled one way. One way, Judaism.
Next, think about getting a mascot. (Not in a religious sense. This essay is purely secular, people.) Santa Claus has done much to solidify Christmas’s brand. Once Thanksgiving is over, that guy is everywhere. A Jewish kid goes to the mall in December, where’s little Murray or Rachel getting their picture taken? You can’t sit on a dreidle’s lap. And, with the absence of positive role models like Mr. and Mrs. Claus, there’s zero motivation to be good. Where’s the naughty or nice list Jewish kids have to worry about? Without a moral standard set by the North Pole governing body, Jewish kids pretty much think they’re getting eight presents no matter what.
And then there’s the tree thing. People who celebrate Christmas have this whole pre-game run up to the big day. They go out, sometime weeks beforehand, pick a tree, bring it home and spend some quality family time making it look all Christmassy. Jews just have to remember to pick up some candles at Publix on the way home from the of?ce. Let’s get a plant involved, Hebrews. Maybe a bush or a nice ?cus or something.
Moving on, when’s the last time the kids gathered round the TV to watch a Hanukkah special? Um… never. The Grinch could care less about stealing Hanukkah. No way is Rudolf going to schlepp a Hanukkah sleigh eight nights in a row. And the list goes on. Frosty, Charlie Brown…every year Christmas has a solid, go-to media campaign. At best, Hanukkah has a lame Adam Sandler movie.
Add to that Christmas’s mile long musical repertoire and you’ve got a holiday that people keep coming back for. You’ll never be stuck in an elevator listening to “I’m Dreaming of a white Hanukkah” or “All I Want for Hanukkah is My Two Front Teeth. Which is weird because there’s a ton of Jewish dentists.
Listen Hanukah, this isn’t a competition. But whatever Christmas is doing, it’s kind of really working. Swallow your kosher pride, incorporate a few of their proven plays and just maybe, one day, the banks and post of?ce might close for your sake as well.
Mark Cohen is Creative Director at Wit, an Atlanta based Advertising and Design firm, specializing in being awesome. witamerica.com