Bemused at Christmastime
Published on December 19, 2011 by Sara Foss

In my weekly column at the DG, I share my thoughts on Christmas, and the alleged war on Christmas.

Here's an excerpt:

"My friend Hanna recently sent me an email with the subject 'Question for a Christian.'

Hanna, who is Jewish, often comes to me with questions about why Christians do the things they do. This time, the question concerned Christmas food traditions. A food writer, she was looking for fodder for her blog but coming up empty.

'I’ve just visited three dozen local church websites and it sounds like the heartiest meal on the community calendar is a cookie tray served after caroling,' Hanna wrote. 'Do churches not mark Christmas in some edible way? Do most families eat their geese in private?'

I hit reply and typed, 'We eat Chinese food, just like you!'

Since Hanna wrote her master’s thesis on why Jews like Chinese food, I assumed she would appreciate this joke. In college, she taught me that many Jews mark Christmas by eating Chinese food because Chinese restaurants are among the few places open that day; when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was asked what she did on Christmas during her confirmation hearing, she said, 'You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.'

Anyway, back to Hanna’s question. I had no idea how to answer it. I wracked my brain trying to think of a Christmas-related food tradition observed by virtually all Christians and soon concluded that there wasn’t one. So I suggested she focus on Christmas cookies. 'There are about 1,001 kinds of Christmas cookies,' I wrote. 'My mom makes at least six different kinds, plus fudge.'"

Click here to read the whole thing.

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