Merry ..... Christmukah??!! No!! I choose "Chanumas!"
To give multifaith families an opportunity to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, Loews Hotels will add a "Christmukah" menu in the restaurants of the Regency in New York, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California, and Loews Miami Beach Hotel during the last two weeks of December.
Among the selections: Shalom Santagria, made with Manischevitz wine; Christmukah Cheer, a mint cocktail with a hint of chocolate from Israeli Sabra liquor and hot cocoa with Star of David gingerbread cookies.
Baa...aaar...fff. And that's just for the drink recipes. Sangria with Maneschewitz kiddush wine? The least they could do is make it with the good stuff... Kedem Cream Concord.
But theologically, they are full of it. "Cristmukah??!!" Bah! Humbug! Anyone who goes around saying "Merry Christmukah" should be "boiled in his own matzaballs and buried with a stake of Challah through his heart."
"Christmukah" is not a true observance, it's nothing more than a commerical marketing scheme. Fior those who want true religious syncretism, I present for your consideration a new Winter Solistice holiday: Chanumas.
Observance of this holiday season starts on erev Thanksgiving, when the Head of the Household (the sages say that all who are bar or bat mitzvah) wtites a ritual letter to the President of the United States offering to pay down the National Debt in return for being made Chief Rabbi of Israel. This is in memory of the High Priests Jason and Menaleus, who actually pulled the same stunt with King Antiochus IV, and thus set in motion the events that led up to Channukah. [Of course, it is forbidden to actually mail this letter, unless, of course, you want to be included on the U.S. Secret Service's "nutcase list."]
The day after Thangkgiving is called "Black Friday," named in honor of the holy frum ("black-hatter") Jews who are inconvienced in their Shabbos shopping by the increased traffic.
From this point until 10 days after the Winter Solistice, it is considered meritorious to buy things you don't need and give them to people you don't like. It is also considered equally meritorious to return unwanted gifts to the store. This is a mitzvah, as it provides gainful employment to store clerks and inmates of the Chinese penal system, who manufactured the gifts in the first place. It is obligatory for Jews to only buy items at discounted price. This requirement is optional for Gentiles.
Truly frum observance of Chanumas involves lighted displays on the house in the front and back yards. It is considered meritorious to leave one's sukkah standing through Chanumas, so one can reuse the lights without having to put them out twice. It is said that Rabbi Menachem Mistletoe had a particularly compelling display, which consisted a a statue of a Maccabean warrior with his foot on the chest of a prostrate Antiochus, about to plunge his sword through the villain's heart, and an inscription in blinking LED lights: "Peace on Earth: because we won!!"
An important aspect of Chanumas is that, even though one is required to be at his or her normal place of employement during the season, it is forbidden that any real work actually get done. The normal minhag is for each department to hold Chanumas parties that are essentially potluck lunches that last until quitting time. Some organizations hold additional Chanumas parties off-hours at offsite locations, but Beis Hillel says this is nothing more than a cheap attempt to avoid legal liability for the actions of inebriated guests. Beis Shammai says this proves that what America needs is tort reform and to send the trial lawyers to Siberia.
Because dairy foods and alcohol are traditional for Chanukkah (in commemoration of the Jewish woman of valor who fed the Greek general cheesecake and wine, got him drunk, and chopped off his head), and becuase eggnog (an alcoholic dairy beverage) is traditional for Christmas, it is obligatory for all who celebrate Chanumas properly to drink eggnogg until they cannot tell the difference between Judah Maccabee and Santa Claus.
Chanumas gifts are not delivered by Santa Claus, "Harry Channukah," "Father Mattithias," or any other individual associated with either Channukah or Christmas. Rather they are delivered by Mr. Ten Li Chao, who runs the gift workshops of the Chinese Prison System. Mr. Chao rides around the world in a flying container ship powered by large marine diesel engines, lands on everyones roof, picks the lock on the fornt door, and spreads the gifts out. Little girls and boys who are nice get a free copy of Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book," children who are naughty get a chance to work as one of Mr. Chao's "elves."
The gits themselve are placed under the Chanumas bush. This is not a piece of shrubbery, rather it is a life size effigy of President George W. Bush. It is considered meritorious, but optional, depending on political affiliation, to decorate the Chanumas bush by inserting voodoo pins into the effigy.
As for December 25, the actual day of Chanumas, there are very few fixed observances. Many like to serve a festive meal of roast goose, latkes, plum pudding, and a green vegetable. However, the truly pious will eat out at a Chinese restaurant in commemoration of Mr. Ten Li Chao and go to a movie theatre and watch a movie.