I’ve never made a big secret about the fact that I’m not crazy about Christmas. As a Jewish person, I don’t celebrate it, and growing up, it mostly served to remind me that I was different than my friends. I still find it tacky and garish, and Christmas music is like fingernails on the chalkboard.
But I’m long past the point of feeling sad because I’m different. Now I cherish it, but I do feel empathy for the little Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or atheist kids who don’t celebrate Christmas, because for six or so weeks, it is everywhere and there’s no escaping it.
Believe it or not, though, there are a few things I like about Christmas. As Hanukkah – the earliest one in a long, long time – wraps up, here are eight of my favorite:
- People being nice to each other: I wish Christmas spirit extended 12 months a year, but I’ll take what I can get. Whatever reason people choose to be peaceful and polite is a good one. That’s why I take no offense in you offering me a Merry Christmas instead of a Happy Holidays. I appreciate your well wishes, your good mood and your optimism for the year ahead.
- Time off of work: The benefit of not celebrating Christmas is that I don’t have to spend Dec. 24 or 25 mired in busy travel, stressful family reunions or any of the other headaches I hear reports of. In fact, Jeff and I at OnMilwaukee.com have our own Christmas tradition: we give our employees the week off between Christmas and New Year’s. For me, it’s a chance to relax and recharge. I love it.
- Guaranteed Chinese food: For at least 15 years, my friends Corey and Laura (and now my wife Velia) have joined me for a Christmas Eve dinner at Yen Ching restaurant. Each year, we order the same things and toast with a Mai Thai to our annual tradition. It’s usually crowded and insane with other dining Jews, and we love it.
- Blockbuster movie releases: I’ve seen some of my all-time favorite movies on Christmas. This year, I think it will be "Anchorman 2."
- Sleigh Ride: I said I hated all Christmas music, but that’s not entirely true. The one song I like is the instrumental version of "Sleigh Ride." It reminds me of band in high school, practicing to learn that tricky song on the alto sax. I bet I could still fumble through that jazzy middle part today.
- Frosty: Like every other kid, I watched Christmas specials as a kid. Not surprisingly, most didn’t do all that much for me, but I loved "Frosty the Snowman." I look forward to passing down that tradition as a parent, too.
- Egg Nog: I would drink this all year round if it was available.
- Pitchers and catchers report soon: Once Christmas is over, it’s only like seven weeks until the Brewers start playing baseball in Maryvale. The days are slowly getting longer. The worst is now behind us.
Bonus: this incredible video.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Dec. 5, 2016
I wasn't really in the market for a new TV, but like so many others, I got suckered into buying a huge one on Black Friday. I was lured by the low, low prices, but also the idea of having a super-sharp 65-inch television that would be ready for 4K.
Published Nov. 30, 2016
Margaret Gintoft knew there was a chance she'd run into a Clinton after jogging near her daughter's home in Chappaqua, N.Y. Last Sunday, Gintoft and her family were hiking in Rockefeller State Park when she saw the former president and former Secretary of State.
Published Nov. 28, 2016
With almost everything available on-demand online, cable and satellite TV are pretty archaic. Today, AT&T acknowledged this by unveiling DIRECTV Now, a streaming service that will go head-to-head with cable (and its own soon-to-be-discontinued U-Verse), for $35 a month.
Published Nov. 16, 2016
Even though Cedarburg is so close to Milwaukee, when you're in its little downtown, you feel far away. And, while plenty of Milwaukeeans visit the Stagecoach Inn Bed & Breakfast for a staycation, this charming old hotel attracts plenty of people from out of town, too.
Published Nov. 15, 2016
House of Harley-Davidson announced today the expansion of its territory with the purchase of Racine Harley-Davidson.
Published Nov. 9, 2016
In this darkest moment in modern U.S. history, I'm looking for a silver lining. This is the best I've got: The president is not a king. Donald Trump cannot tear up the Constitution and keep his job.
Published Oct. 28, 2016
I post a lot of photos of food, mostly because I'm guilty of the new axiom, "If you didn't put it on social media, it didn't happen." Judgement aside, whenever I look at my Instagram feed, I get hungry. So here are a bunch of photos I've taken from Wisconsin restaurants. Maybe after seeing them, you'll be hungry, too.
Published Oct. 28, 2016
Five years ago, we first told you about Izzy Jaecks, the now full-time shoeshiner at Stag Barbershop, 3064 S. Delaware Ave. In 2011, it was a once-a-week gig for the former Miss International Bootblack, but now Jaecks is as part of the shop as are its barbers.
Published Oct. 26, 2016
The Vector Luna really does look a real watch at first glance, although it puts me off by its thickness. From a distance, its screen looks pretty good, but wearing it, I never got past its very low resolution and lack of brightness. That's a trade off for its month-long battery life, but I can't help but feel like I'm wearing a piece of technology more like a Palm Pilot than an iPhone.
Published Oct. 13, 2016
Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall will visit The Pabst Theater on Oct. 16, and at 81, the legendary trumpet player still looks forward to pleasing his audience and leaving them smiling. His career spans five decades and he's still going. We caught up with him prior to his show.