What’s The Difference Between Christmas And Hanukkah?

Cultural Significance

Religiously, Hanukkah is lighter than Christmas. Christianity reveres Christmas because of Jesus' birth. Vanderbilt University Associate Professor of Jewish Studies Shaul Kelner calls Hanukkah a minor Jewish holiday.

Culturally, Jews don't value Hanukkah as much as Christians do Christmas. Many Jewish Americans celebrate Hanukkah by lighting candles, eating latkes, giving gifts, and praying during the workweek. 

The American Holiday Season

Christmas may have given Hanukkah its relative importance in American Jewish culture. “Hanukkah is not the holiday season for Jews. 

The Jewish calendar is lunar, hence this link is intermittent. After Thanksgiving in November 2013, Hanukkah was lovingly called “Thanksgivukkah,” equating it to Turkey Day rather than Saint Nick's. 

Choices In Holiday Ritual

Christmas may be lonely for non-believers, so we Jews wanted to engage in the merriment while respecting our religion and traditions. 

Extending Hanukkah Wishe

Wish your Jewish acquaintances a merry Hanukkah to acknowledge the holiday's celebrations and new cultural importance.

See Also

Why It’s Never Too Early To Put Up Your Christmas Tree