The Difference Between Christmas and Hanukkah

Sukkot is taking place right now.  It ends Wednesday at nightfall.  So, sukkahs are up all over my neighborhood and people are partying till the wee hours in their front and back yards.

I live in an area with a lot of Jewish people.  Even though I am Christian, I have learned a lot about Judaism from living in this neighborhood.

One important thing that I have learned about is high holy days.  Taking place in late September and early October, these days are the most holy on the Jewish calendar.

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Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.  If you want to be knowledgeable about our Jewish friends, take note of these holidays.

A much less important holiday on the Jewish calendar is Hanukkah.  Although I fervently pray that the miracle of Hanukkah will take place in my gas tank each week, it is still a minor Jewish holiday.

One of my sorority sisters said that people in Israel laugh at the way Americans celebrate Hanukkah.

In the interest of “tolerance” Americans nearly refuse to even say the word “Christmas” and inexplicably toss up a Menorah next to a Christmas tree all across the country.  (Oh, and they call it a “holiday” tree, but call a menorah a menorah, not a “festive lighting display.”)

Christmas recognizes the birth of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  Christmas is the holiest of Christian holidays and is celebrated by about 85-90% of Americans (look it up), and by millions of people around the world.

During the Christmas season, we put up Christmas trees.  Menorahs are to celebrate the 8 nights of Hanukkah.  Putting one up weeks before (or after) Hanukkah is insulting to Christians and Jews.

So, to recap, say “Merry Christmas” around the Christmas tree while you sing Christmas carols, eat Christmas cookies and address Christmas cards.

Mark your calendars in the fall and recognize Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for our Jewish friends.  Also, only put up a menorah during the 8 days of Hanukkah.


Shabbat shalom.

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About the author

Julie Love

Julie Love is a former CPA who currently home-schools her two children. She earned her MS in Journalism from Ohio University in 2002. She was raised in rural Ohio and now lives in the big city of Cleveland.
You can see more of her work at Http://
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