‘Christmas Song’ Blues (Confessions of a Jealous Jewess)

Nov 19, 2014 | 7:20 PM

I love Christmas songs. All of them. From “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” to “Gloria In Excelsis Deo.”


You may wonder about this passion of mine, considering I’m Jewish. But there’s a good reason for my yuletide affection.

Between the formative ages of 5 and 15, I attended a Protestant school for girls where, every year, on the morning of Christmas break, the entire school got together and circled a big Christmas tree set in the middle of the school auditorium.


Grade by grade, we would sing “On The First Day of Christmas,” with the kindergarteners singing “fa la la” in perfect unison. After we were all seated around the tree, we would sing every christmas song the music teacher knew, including a few in Latin! By the end of the assembly, tears would be streaming down my rosy cheeks, and home I’d float… to celebrate Hanukkah with the only three Hanukkah songs that exist.


There are 8 nights of Hanukkah. There are 3 Hanukkah songs. You do the math.


That was many years ago. In the interim, no one has written any new Hanukkah songs, or recorded any versions of the existing ones that have made it into the general cultural consciousness. (Of course, Adam Sandler has made some funny recordings, but nothing has come out that gives me the same tingles a Christmas carol produces.)

It also depresses me that there are zillions of radio stations playing zillions of Christmas songs and there aren’t any Hanukkah songs in the mix. Granted, there also aren’t any Kwanza songs or Denali songs that I’m aware of, but still… considering most Christmas carols were written by Jews, you’d think someone would write or record a fun Hanukkah tune!


Irving Berlin was Jewish, folks!


Think of all the Christmas albums that are out there!



weird-christmas-albums vintage-xmas-albums

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Barbra Streisand, perhaps the most famous Jewish singer of our time, has recorded no fewer than three Christmas albums!

So, hold on to your seats my friends. Guess what’s coming your way?

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Available the day after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned…







9 thoughts on “‘Christmas Song’ Blues (Confessions of a Jealous Jewess)”

  1. guy a spagnoli     Reply

    I’ll be looking for it, music is a gift —-GUY

  2. brian wolle     Reply

    Gee, this is america, why not? Meanwhile, nothing christian about irving berlin nor danny kaye, and as you already know, almost all 20th century xmas songs were written by jews. They practically invented the holiday. And, to begun with, jesus wasnt born in december. They just took a pagan holiday, that was being celebrated anyway, and put their stamp on it, meanwhile condemning pagans! Easters the same way. They date it by phases of the moon, for craps sake. So the season belongs to you as much as anyone else. Especially you, since you cried over it.

  3. Paul     Reply

    Thank the Jews for some of the best Christmas (and other genres) music ever. Not only that, but the best Christmas TV specials were produced and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr., and Jules Bass, both Jewish men, in the ’60s and ’70s. I haven’t missed these airing on TV, and/or on DVD, for over 40 years. But is it really any wonder why Jews would create great art for Christians, who worship a Jew and share religious texts with them? Kudos for recording, Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah! I think artists recording traditional and Christian Christmas music should return the favor and include at least on of those three Hanukkah songs on their Christmas albums. Any plans to do an entire Christmas/Hanukkah album?

    • Isabel Rose     Reply

      I’d love to one day!

  4. Stubby     Reply

    Isabel. It’s true they aren’t on the radio or in the malls, and most of them are relatively recent, but there are actually lots of Hanukkah songs. Hundreds or thousands of people in this world make Christmas mixes for family and friends every year. I make Christmas mixes AND Hanukkah mixes. It would actually be daunting to provide you with anything approaching a full list. You can write me and I’ll make an effort. But you can start with Julie Silver’s CD “Its Chanukah Time”, The LeeVees “Hanukkah Rocks”, and the annual Hanukkah songs from Six13. There’s Hanukkah Blues, Hanukkah Jazz, and plenty of Hanukkah Folk and Rock. There’s even a Hanukkah Reggae album from Alan Eder, and its terrific.

    • Isabel Rose     Reply

      Wow!!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing these artists with me! I can’t wait to investigate. How did you find my blog?

      • Stubby     Reply

        The same way I find pretty much anything…via google while searching for new Christmas and Hanukkah music. Love your version of “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah”, by the way. I hope you do record an entire album of Hanukkah music; I’d definitely buy it.

        • Isabel Rose     Reply

          Hey there Stubby,
          I’m posting a video at 7pm of the Hanukkah song. Can you wait until then? Thanks for your interest. I’m very grateful to be included in your blog.

  5. Beth     Reply

    Love this! I think my kids will like this way better than the old version (which I can’t sing without thinking of the scene in the play of The Diary of Anne Frank where they sing it!!). Also, check out Peter Paul and Mary’s Don’t Let the Light Go Out! It’s a great Hanukkah song!

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