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Dec 6 2011

The Hanukkah Tree Topper is Oh So Wrong

By at 10:28 am

I don’t have any particular opinion on how you should celebrate Hanukkah.

In our humble abode, we do Hanukkah and Hanukkah only. Always have, always will. No Christmas tree, no Hanukkah bush, just eight nights of fried potatoes, singing songs about the Maccabees, and maybe a new toothbrush and some stickers for our boys.

I know there are mixed religion families who do both Christmas and Hanukkah and I also know that some Jews like to have a Christmas tree “even if” they don’t “believe” in Christmas. That doesn’t work for me, but I don’t want to get into that. Here’s what I want to get into.

hanukkah tree topperWhat is wrong with this ad? Oh, so many things. Here are my top 3:

1) It says this is the “perfect” way to celebrate both. Is it really!? Last time I checked, one of the hallmark features of celebrating Hanukkah was lighting a hanukiah for eight nights. Making a blessing over it? Better yet. How on earth does placing a Magen David on top of your Christmas tree satisfy the celebrating of Hanukkah?! Maybe topping your Christmas tree with a lightable hanukiah would be in theory the “perfect” way to celebrate both. But that would be a fire hazard so you didn’t hear it from me.

2) Is this truly honestly a “must-have” for interfaith families?! Really? A “must”!? See #1 and note that I don’t know that there is any “must have” for interfaith families except maybe a book entitled, “How to Incorporate Multiple Religions into a Household” (which may or may not have even been written) because if anything is a must have for an interfaith family, it sure as heck is not this gigantic silver Magen David that you place on top of a Christmas tree.

3) The Magen David is a 6 pointed star which has mystical properties and a lot of meaning. It’s a very powerful symbol but it’s not something we tend to place on top of things. Sure, there are hospitals with giant Magen Davids on them, but for the most part, this is a symbol worn around people’s necks or in Jewish artwork or on the stained glass windows of synagogues. We don’t tend to use it as adornment or decoration. In addition, the star typically placed on top of Christmas trees is reminiscent of the Star of Bethlehem which reportedly indicated that Christ had been born and directed the Magi to search for him.

Whether you choose to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or both, I hope you will take this opportunity to read the traditional text of the Hanukkah story and find the beauty in the story of sacrifice, freedom, and miracles, whatever that may look like for you.

And if all else fails, place a Magen David Christmas Tree topper on your dining room table for 8 nights. It’s the “perfect” centerpiece and a “must-have” for all Chanukah-celebrating families.

If you’d like to get some less-controversial Hanukkah must-haves, check out our Hanukkah Gift Guides for him and her, and read why sending out “holiday” cards might not be the best idea.


Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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