Christmas Gifts from the Chanukah Crowd: The Extraordinary Contributions of American Jews to Christmas (paperback)
Christmas is one of the most dearly cherished holidays for the vast majority of Christians and a holiday appreciated, and even celebrated, by many non-Christians as well. It is celebrated the world over but nowhere more cherished than in America. Despite its popularity – or perhaps because of it – the past several decades have seen controversy about an alleged “War on Christmas.” Culprits fingered as the anti-Christmas warriors are varied with “liberals” and “secularists” often accused. However, some people have specifically accused American Jewry of waging war on Christmas. When the Gentile author of this book read some commentators accusing Jews of battling Christmas, she was struck by the irony that Jews have added to Christmas celebrations through song and film. This insight led her to write Christmas Gifts from the Chanukah Crowd: The Extraordinary Contributions of American Jews to Christmas.
This book tells the story of how Christmas – which was not celebrated by the earliest Christians -- came to be a beloved tradition. It discusses a genuine “War on Christmas” waged in past centuries – by Christians! It tells the stories of popular Christmas songs written or co-written by Jews. It relates Jewish contributions to Christmas-themed motion pictures, some of which have become a cherished part of Christmas celebration.
Of course, Christmas is far from the only major December holiday. This book devotes a chapter to the fascinating and inspiring story of Chanukah. This book also discusses the Afrocentric cultural holiday of Kwanzaa, the modern Pagan revival of Yule, why the day following Christmas is honored as Boxing Day, and the Seinfeld-based whimsical holiday of Festivus.
Christmas Gifts from the Chanukah Crowd tells a history that is rich in tragedy and triumph, persistence and pathos, devastation and survival. It is a story about sameness and difference and the need to live with our differences. It is a story about what it means to be Christian, what it means to be Jewish, what it means to be American, and, perhaps most importantly, what it means to be human.
"Christmas Gifts From the Chanukah Crowd" bursts the myth., Jewish people, are responsible for political correctness to not allow us to say Merry Christmas, instead Happy Holidays. In fact Noe shows in music and movies of Christmas. there is strong bond of Christians and Jews in the creation of our favorite tunes and films of Christmas. Some of them are White Christmas, Silver Bells that was not the original name and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and how it came into being a song that is not what you think. White Christmas first appeared in Holiday Inn, then twelve years later it became its own classic we all know and love. Also both stared Bing Crosby. There are also other religious holidays mentioned too "Christmas Gifts from the Chanukah Crowd" is gem to enjoy for the Christmas holiday.
-- Gary Roen, Senior Reviewer