Every year, Hannukkah begins on a different day of December and continues on for eight days. This year, Hannukkah starts early – December 1st, tomorrow. The UConn Hillel keeps inviting me to Hannukkah celebrations, including such things like wine tastings, latke cook-offs and candle lightings. Many of these things sound fun to me – especially the flyer I got promoting a legit ball in the ballroom – but I perused the activities without considering actually going to any. Why? I have no time.
Trust me, if I wasn’t so busy, I’d certainly be going to the ball this Thursday; I love to dance, and already have a dress I could wear. Also, while I don’t have any interest in attending a wine tasting, a latke cook-off sounds pretty awesome.
I think it is events like these that make me appreciate Hannukkah so much more than Christmas (see “5 Reasons Christmas Sucks” in that little sidebar thingie). It’s not all about religion – despite that many would make it so – it’s more about thankfulness and the social aspects of Judaism. In fact, the holiday Hannukkah is supremely irrelevant to the entire religion, being only a minor holiday at best, despite that it’s the one both Jews and non-Jews alike talk about most. Really, if you want to look at it religiously, Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are all way more important and/or significant.
Relevant or not, Hannukkah is a time of year I absolutely love to celebrate because of all the culture there is to see. Traditional food dishes are some of my favorites, too! Falafel, latkes, matzah ball soup, and who could forget gelt? (Though I generally pass on those little gefilte fish trifle things… yuck). I also love the traditions; candle lightings are so beautiful. The only thing I think is beautiful about Christmas is the Christmas tree – this is mainly because I once was able to go to New York City for the tree lighting at Cernegie Hall. All the lights, snow and cheerfulness were intoxicating.
In the past few years however, December has become the most hellish month of the year for me, which is really a huge shame considering how much I love celebrating Hannukkah or doing winter sports like ice skating or skiing. I don’t even mind being cold that much because it’s a wonderful excuse to cuddle up with someone you love, or make an extra-big mug of hot cocoa.
I think the worst part about December (for me) isn’t that I get overworked, overwrought, overtired and lots of other bad things that start with the word ‘over’. The thing I miss most during the last month of the year – besides my sanity – is my friends. Between my two retail jobs and school, I become a zombie during this month, pretty much annually. You’d think I’d get used to it, but trust me, I never do. It doesn’t matter that last three weeks of school always seem to be creeping around surreptitiously, reminding me that I still have 2 huge papers to write, 2 big projects to complete, 1 homework assignment to do, 2 books to read and 4 exams to study for.
It just seems a shame to me that holidays have, well… ruined the holidays. I might be fine if it were just school plus my regular hours at my regular job – I’d still have something like a life. But every year, there is this need for masses of people to buy things for others, spending far too much money and wasting far too much of my time. All I want to do is be able to celebrate in peace, but if you work in retail, you aren’t allowed to uphold traditions during this month. Basically, that means that the only the uber-religious people are able to celebrate because they’re the only ones that are zealous enough to request the time off…
It makes me wonder when this is all going to pop? Seriously. You can’t go on forever just inflating something to the extent that people have over-inflated Christmas and Hannukkah. It isn’t all about presents.