Twas The Night Before Chanukah. A Poem.

Twas the night
Before Hanukkah
When all through the house
Not a creature was preparing,
Not even my spouse.

The menorah just sat,
In the cupboard all bare,
In the hopes
That some candles,
Soon would be there.

The children were complaining
At night in their beds
Hanukkah is boring,
I wish we celebrated Christmas instead.

And me in old sweatpants,
And my husband in jeans from the Gap,
Had just settled on the couch
For his nightly after-dinner nap.

When to the store I ran,
to show them that Chanukah does matter
I bucked my seatbelt,
And noticed I had gotten fatter.

Away to go Chanukah shopping,
I drove like a flash,
Tearing down that open road,
Realizing that I had cash.

The crumbs on my breast
I should have changed, that I know,
But I wanted to get there
Before it closed
With no children in tow.

When what
To my tired eyes
Should appear,
But a miniature sleigh in the window
And eight tiny reindeer.

Just a little ol me,
A quiet lone Jew,
I knew in a moment,
That corporate America had no clue.

More offensive than others,
This time of year it’s especially lame,
So I whistled
And shouted
And called
Each holiday by name.

No Rosh Hashana!
No Yom Kippur!
No Passover!
No Hannukkah!

No dreidel
No menorah
No latkes
Nor yarmulke

Not in the window
Or in the aisle
Not by the register
Or even on sale,
Not ok
Not ok
It was an epic retail fail.

As we Jews wander ’round
Saying Merry Christmas
Each time we say goodbye,
And each time we meet
Or each time we greet
The grocery store bagging guy.

You wear your green and red
And your jolly little caps
We buy you Secret Santa gifts
And Christmas cookies
And ornaments too,
Stocking stuffers, candy canes
Yet there’s nothing out there
for a kid whose a Jew.

We are the only ones on the street
without twinkling lights
On the doors
and on the roof,
No wreath
And no tree
Only our mezuzahs
as religious proof.

As I hung my head
And was turning around,
Out the door came a salesman
A young teenage boy
Came out with a bound.

Oh, ma’am!
I found some!
Hanukkah decorations in our store.
In the Jewish section
In the back,
He had found wrapping paper
Dreidels, menorahs, and candles
On a small, tiny rack.

He was so proud
Of his store
How progressive they are,
Selling napkins and tablecloths
With a giant Jewish star.

He had a broad face
And a round little belly,
That shook when he laughed
Like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump
A right jolly old elf,
I laughed when I saw the small selection
In spite of myself.

A wink of his eye
And a nod of his head,
Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread.

I drove quickly home
As I knew what I had to do,
I wrapped eight presents
For each child
And one for my spouse too.

We Jews may feel left out
on all the Christmas fun,
But we should still celebrate
and be merry
with our fellow chosen ones.

There is still a place for us
Near the 12 Days of Christmas and the Elf on a Shelf,
In a tiny corner of each store
And I can laugh to myself.

We are all the same,
and I know I am right,
Christians and Jews
We are buying unnecessary gifts for our families
That will one day cause a fight.

You see, the stores are the real winners
All religions spend the same,
We’ll buy whatever you are selling
Whether to celebrate eight days of oil,
or in the birth of Jesus’ name.

And so I say to my children,
with a bit of holiday glee,
Christmas is not better, with its Santa and its tree.

It’s about who comes out with the most gifts
That’s always how it ends,
You have eight nights of your holiday,
you can brag to your friends.

It’s not really about who has more fun singing carols
Or having ginger plums dancing in their head,
The important thing to celebrate
Is that capitalism is not dead.

And so I say to the members of the tribe
on this random mid-December night,
Happy Chanukah to all
And to all a goodnight.



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