Thursday, December 6, 2012

War on Christmas - Day 3: Curious George Chiam

I came across a copy of Happy Hanukkah, Curious George today. It's a board book, meaning it's pages are made of stiff cardboard to stand up to tiny child hands. It's about 14 pages long and involves the Poacher Slaver Man in the Yellow hat (though frightfully referred to not by name, but only as "a friend") taking George to a Hanukkah dinner.

George helps wrap some presents, eats sweets, plays driedel and "monkey see, monkey do" with the kids, knocks over some purple applesauce, then makes the children help clean it up. Later the Man lights the menorah, and George wraps some latkes up for a sick friend after doing all the dishes with his disgusting, feces-tossing monkey paws.

That's the entire book. The most religious element is that the menorah exists without explanation, and the mitzvah or good deed is supposedly important. No mention of Macabees, or miracles, or Judaism or religion of any kind. Just being a good person as a general idea.

And that's pretty fantastic.

Honestly, I'm probably going to miss Hanukkah this year because my non-practising aunt and shiksa mother decided to hold the get together at one in the afternoon. Last year, we ate pork chops and picked our presents (read: "checks") off of a Christmas tree. We are not what you would call "observant." Frankly, my grandma forcing me to say the candle prayer is about as religious as we get, since I'm the only bar-mitzvahed male in the house. My dad could do it, but no one wants to invite him.

Why not Christmas?

Fake-Hanukkah is so much better than the awkward, tongue-biting I remember from the Real Hanukkahs of my childhood. Mostly because of all the drinking now. It's great. So how come even with Santa Claus and mistletoe and reindeer, and all the gifts and cheer and good will that has nothing to do with Jesus, JESUS STILL GETS ALL THE HYPE.

I mean, I get it, he's the "messiah." The "Son of God" is an important business title. Fine. "Macabee" isn't as glorious as being a Mason these days. Whatever.

But come on, all the best things about Christmas have nothing to do with Christianity, they're Pagan and generally just about being a good dude to the other dudes in your life.

Be a dude.

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln

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