Iâ€™ve never made a big secret about the fact that Iâ€™m not crazy about Christmas. As a Jewish person, I donâ€™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 Iâ€™m long past the point of feeling sad because Iâ€™m different. Now I cherish it, but I do feel empathy for the little Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or atheist kids who donâ€™t celebrate Christmas, because for six or so weeks, it is everywhere and thereâ€™s no escaping it.
Believe it or not, though, there are a few things I like about Christmas. As Hanukkah â€“ the earliest one in a long, long time â€“ wraps up, here are eight of my favorite:
- People being nice to each other: I wish Christmas spirit extended 12 months a year, but Iâ€™ll take what I can get. Whatever reason people choose to be peaceful and polite is a good one. Thatâ€™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 donâ€™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 Yearâ€™s. For me, itâ€™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. Itâ€™s usually crowded and insane with other dining Jews, and we love it.
- Blockbuster movie releases: Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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 didnâ€™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, itâ€™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 May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.
Published April 4, 2016
I'm sitting here on Opening Day, in the first row of the press box at Miller Park, and it's quiet. Too quiet. I mean, I can hear the fans in the ventilation over the sound of stands in this not-sold-out stadium. Apparently, other people here are either rolling their eyes in the fifth inning (or they're passed out).
Published April 2, 2016
It's been a long while since we interviewed FOX6 meteorologist Vince Condella for a personal profile, but with the long-time weather man's upcoming retirement, it was time to catch up.
Published March 15, 2016
I'm a big fan of Atlas Obscura, a website that calls itself "the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places." And it does a good job. Yesterday, it took a look at Milwaukee and its 12 quirky treasures.
Published March 3, 2016
Sometimes, the `90s in Milwaukee feel like a distant memory; other times I can't believe they're so long gone. But then I looked at some of the photos I took while building the shell of what would eventually become OnMilwaukee, and these scenes seem ancient, indeed.