Christmas: A Day Devoted to Stereotypes

As Elena Kagan, the newest member of the Supreme Court, proclaimed in her confirmation hearing, all good Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas. And as Senator Schumer, a Democratic senator from New York, then explained, it’s because those are the only restaurants open on the birthday of the Christian savior:

Like Kagan, a Jew of New York origins, I fulfilled my stereotypical duty last night and consumed my body’s weight in MSG-free Chinese food. As a semi-health conscious person, I– in consultation with  my mother– determined that vegan Chinese would be the best option for both our mental and physical states. And, as per the Kagan saying, when we arrived at Veggie Heaven, we encountered a wave of other health conscious and slightly famished Jews.

Of course, our little edible rendezvous followed another memorable Christmas past time for my people (and by “my people,” I imply Jews, not Starbucks): going to the cinema. My mother, learning to never challenge a film major, agreed to my selection, The King’s Speech. As an Anglophile still bitter about my absence from England, I opted to introduce my mother to the wonders of Colin Firth, both as an actor and a physical specimen. He is one of the few British men I know who ages gracefully. And his performance in Tom Hooper’s film is evidence of that fact.

However, beyond food and entertainment, there is a tradition common in many Jewish households– an untold stereotype that brings out the inner stalker in each and every one of us. I refer to it as “Christmas Light Peeping,” or the act of slowly driving by the residences of Christians, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of their holiday decorations. My mother and I have a particular favorite– a house in East Rutherford, New Jersey– covered from roof to foundation in lights:

This magical house, a thirty minute journey from the City, boasts a rather pretentious collection box. It’s purpose: to collect donations from holiday light peepers, like myself, in an effort to cover the costs of the home’s exorbitant electric bill. Though I frequent the home each year, I have yet to pay my dues. A part of me feels a tinge of guilt, as I have a tendency to linger around said home– staring longingly at a world that will never be my own. But then I regain consciousness, recognize that this home owner lives in suburbia (I shutter at the thought of it!), and assume my coffee-drinking position.


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