Saturday, December 16, 2017

View: A Jewish Mom/Writer Confesses to Her Christmas Envy and Why She Watches All Those Hallmark Christmas Movies - More Gingerbread Men Please and Hold the Muddy Hooves

By Beth Abramson Brier

Hallmark Christmas Movies. Once considered the very definition of “guilty pleasure”, this year it is reclassified as a necessary euphoric escape from the news of raging wildfires, Matt Lauer, Russia-gate and mystery Oreos (Fruity Pebbles?  Eww!)  For the last three weeks I have been binge watching and reviewing so many movies my head feels as light as spun sugar.  Full disclosure - I am Jewish.  So why my obsession with Christmas movies?  It comes down to two words: Christmas Envy.  That’s right.   I said it.  Christmas Envy.  Or, to be more accurate Christmas Tree Envy.  Christmas Cookie Envy.  Christmas Movie Envy.

These movies, oh these Hallmark Christmas movies! Filled with characters with perfect teeth and a soft spot for puppies.  The wholesome, beautiful characters are not just decking the hall, they are meeting angels, getting snowbound in cozy designer-worthy cabins and falling in love.  Aah!  Falling in love.

Now wait.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Hanukkah, Hanukah, Chanukah and Channukah.  I love the candles, the dreidel game and latkes.  But let’s face it – after gingerbread, candy canes and buche de Noel, it’s a hard act to follow even for the crispiest potato pancake. To make a really good latke requires grating potatoes at great risk to your fingers, chopping onions until your tears resemble Tammy Faye Baker (remember her?), then frying the mixture in hot oil with inevitable burns.  All this for the sheer, brief enjoyment that is the perfect latke followed by visits to the gym where our people wander countless hours on the treadmill seeking redemption.

I have come to conclude that this is why there are no Hanukkah movies.  Or very few.  The very first popular Hanukkah movie I can recall was “A Rugrats Chanukah” (again with the spelling!).  Tommy leads the other babies as an army of Maccabees to defend their religion and identity.  An admirable tribute to the holiday but not the love story I was hoping for.  Then there is Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights – too much meshuggah; too little  mistletoe.  Even Nora Ephron skipped right over Hanukkah to Christmas in “When Harry Met Sally” despite the sandwich at Katz’s. This could have been the Hanukkah movie I was waiting for. 

Maybe it has to do with Santa and the sleigh.  There are no reindeer in Israel.  And no Jewish mother I know is letting those muddy hoofs land on her roof.  We don’t spend the holiday in the snow  because our parents are all in Boca for “the season”.  We are not schlepping trees into our houses only to schlep them back out again.  Lights on the roof?  Are you crazy?  You could fall off the ladder. 
So even as I continue to hope for the perfect Hanukkah movie perhaps I don’t need one at all.  Hanukkah is about hope.   It is about light in the darkness.  It is about miracles.  And if that’s not what you need to feel love, what is? 

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year to all.  May 2018 bring you happiness and peace. 

You May Like: 

The Business of Hallmark Christmas and 2017 Premiere List
Beth Abramson Brier expresses her views under 
My Thoughts... Exactly! on SuzeeBehindtheScenes. Come back for more reviews and views by Beth.

Photos Courtesy Hallmark Channel Facebook


  1. Great article...I say, celebrate it ALL! Hanukkah Gifts, Christmas Gifts bring it all on. Many religions but only one God. Whatever we name the end it's all the same. Peace.

  2. Beth. Good article. This year I decided I wanted to see how it felt - so bought a Chanukah Bush ( small 18” tree) and decorated it. I strung blue and white lights and put a Jewish star on top and my menorah in front. I can’t tell you it wasn’t fun. But maybe I got it out of my system. You should try it. I won’t tell anyone.