THE BLOG
11/26/2012 10:05 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2013

Deck the Malls With Boughs of Challah

'Tis the season for eliminating guilt by spending gelt (Yiddish for money) to alleviate the feelings that you may not have taken care of your loved ones like you thought you should have during the year.

Now there are a plethora of pre-holiday sales days including Blue Thursday, followed by Black Friday, followed by after-the-holidays bargains starting on or before Dec. 25.

In between now and the years' end are major holidays for two religions: Hanukkah starting on Dec. 8 for eight days, and Christmas taking place on Dec. 25. That is unless you count the 12 days of Christmas that naturally starts 12 days before Christmas.

Christmas has always been a dilemma of a holiday for Jewish people (and atheists), who don't celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. When I was in the fourth grade and a member of our secular Brady Elementary School's choir, I was told by my Mother not to use his name when we sang at a Catholic school. I remember singing the words, "La-la, our Savior was born." When Jewish families referred to the December holiday in writing, it was written as "Xmas," in an attempt not to be influenced by "his real name."

Today, with so much Christmas information being bandied about, primarily in advertisements from mid-November until the holiday takes place, it's hard for Jews not to be inundated with the spirit of Christmas.

Actually, it seems more about the spirit of retailing to help the economy, in fact nearly all holiday references have nothing whatsoever to do with the most important holy day for Christians.

Jewish merchants have gotten into the Christmas spirit of retailing, too, and at times to the point of ludicrousness. However, Gentiles do not see most of the Hanukkah advertising, since it is confined to Jewish newspapers and online Jewish sites.

Within these entities, confusion reigns as to both the meaning of the Jewish holiday, as well as how to spell it. If you go to one Internet site, the first reference is to "just eight shopping days until Hanukkah." There are 644 great gifts listed including "Chanukah pencils and cookie cutters," "Happy Hanukah matches," and an ever-popular "Chanukkah Suncatcher Kit." If you notice, the Jewish holiday is spelled four different ways within one website.

Passover, or Pesach, is another important Jewish holiday that will be celebrated from March 25 to April 2, 2013, but retailing is retailing. The online site advertises, "We know it's early, but we wanted you to be the first to know that you can get the new Pesach Haggadah," the Passover service book. Talk about retailing chutzpah (nerve in Yiddish).

The front page of a Jewish online magazine offers seven versions of the spelling of the December holiday, listing stories with such enticing headlines as "Is It Chanukah Jokes or Hanukah Humor?" "Bringing out the Chanuka Ecstasy," "A Hanukkah Prayer," "Could Santa Bring a Hanukka Present?' "The New Israeli Channukah Postage Stamp" and "The Kabbalistic Chanukkah Lights."

Such confusion would drive any person a bisl meshuge -- a bit crazy -- whether they are Christian, Jewish or practicing atheists.

Perhaps the use of Yiddish would be most helpful in having a seamless blend of the ecumenical celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah (spelled any which way), Kwanzaa after Christmas, and Chinese New Year in early 2013.

You could find a mellow way to celebrate every day and do so without infringing upon the beliefs of others, by practicing the gentle movements of The Oy Way found here. You could also follow the movements here on You Tube.

Then there would be less narishkeyt (nonsense) no matter whether you spelled it as Xmas or Christmas, or any of the seven versions of Hanukkah.