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My Secret Vice

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Maybe it’s because I live in SoCal where the weather outside is decidedly not frightful. Nor do we ever dash through the snow. Or do we do the jingle bell rock in the frosty air. Heck, our air isn’t frosty.

“Seasonal” songs are meteorogically out of place here. The ersatz snow on shop windows looks…well, fake. Winter attire is not really necessary, but it somehow fits the time of year. So anything winter-esque has an innate Christmas connotation because it otherwise doesn’t make sense on a balmy 78 F sun-filled day. In other words, perhaps that is why non-religious Christmas songs seem so…Christian.

I have a confession to make. I love Christmas music. I mean, I really love Christmas music. I always have. I especially like the religious Christmas music and I think that I prefer it because I am, at heart, a religious person.

The words to O Holy Night always take my breath away. I am not a Christian nor could I see myself ever being a Christian. But that song, more than any other, helps me understand what Christmas was meant to symbolize to my friends who are Christian.

So I have rules:
Rule #1 — Never listen to Christmas music on Shabbos. This is easy because I don’t listen to secular music or news on Shabbos anyway.

Rule #2 — Never listen to Christmas music in my study. It just seems too weird to play it at shul, don’t you think?

Rule #3 — Never listen to Christmas music when the kids are in the car. I always knew that they would be exposed to Christmas music in their secular schools. I just don’t think that they should hear it in their Jewish home. In fact, Beernut told me two days ago that he thought it was time to bring some of the Chanukah CDs into the car for the ride to school.

Even though Peach is just two days shy of 20 months, I don’t put it on in the car. Not since I learned from one of my professors that every single life experience is stored in our memory bank. I want my kids’ natural inclination to lean towards tunes written in minor keys.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. flo permalink
    Thursday, 11 December 2008 6:50 pm

    I like the Christmas music also, although usually the less religious songs. What I really love though are Christmas lights — on trees, on houses, everywhere. Last year we were in Disneyworld in Florida on Christmas and we (with my 2 sons wearing their kippahs) went to look at the Osborne Family lights in the Disney Hollywood studios. One Jewish star, one Kwanzaa candelabra among the thousands of Christmas lights. We loved it. This year we will be in Jerusalem for Christmas — quite a difference (but even more wonderful).

  2. Megan permalink
    Thursday, 11 December 2008 8:47 pm

    the lights are my favorite part 🙂

  3. Saturday, 13 December 2008 7:49 pm

    hmm….can’t say i share this love with you. i’m just not the biggest fan….perhaps it goes back to the semi-traumatic incident of singing “mary had a baby” in first grade and my mom storming in like a wet hen to defend my right to not sing it.

    or something like that.

  4. Steve permalink
    Wednesday, 17 December 2008 2:03 pm

    Although I myself love christmas music, as a Jew I tend to shy away from the more religious of them (though yes, many if not most are awfully pretty)

    I do not, however, give a full-on ban to this seasonal music. Jingle Bells, for example, has nothing to do with Christmas, at least lyrically. It is nothing more than a ‘seasonal’ song. Same for ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’ (unless you are very sensitive to the song mentioning ‘parson Brown’ – change the title to ‘Rabbi Braun’ and youre home free)

    There are several more ‘Christmas songs’ that in fact, don’t even mention christmas.

    Then you get to the level of songs that DO mention christmas but are incredibly secular and have nothing to do with Christ, like ‘Frosty the snowman’, ‘Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’ and any of the ‘Santa’ songs. These are the ones that are fun to listen to, dont really perpetuate the Jesus thing, and make the holiday fun.

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