I'd like to wish everybody a joyful and blessed Chrismukkah. And to everybody who objects to Chrismukkah, I wish you the very best as well: Anti-Chrismukkah polemics are for my money the best kind of polemics—the kind you don't have to bother reading. (If you want to read some anyway, try here, here, here, here, and here.)
My sympathies are torn here between an instinctive support for anything that gets more Americans spending money on frivolous celebrations and sympathy for religious organizations that want to keep their holidays intact. And considering how Rankin and Bass took the centuries-old legend of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and commercialized the hell out of it, I'm sympathetic to concerns about selling out the holidays. Since nobody is forcing anybody to do anything here, I'll split the difference and revert to my previous holiday good wishes.
My purpose here is more nefarious: We all know the dirt on Christmas (It's really just a co-opting of the Solstice, there's no evidence Jesus was born in December, there's plenty of evidence they got the birth year wrong, Jesus probably never existed, Santa Claus was invented by the philosopher Josephus, blah blah blah). But what is the embarrassing truth about that other C Word, Chanukah? The conventional wisdom at Blessed Sacrament School, which I suspect was just an anti-Semitic slander, was that Chanukah was a minor holiday more on a level with our own Feast of St. Blaise than with the really major Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Good Friday, and that it was blown up as a competitor to Christmas. What is the actual status of Chanukah in the ranking of high holy days? Is it even a high holy day? And what's a high holy day anyway?
Wanted: Commenters who can expound on when Chanukah got beefed up, what calendrical tricks are needed to make sure it always falls in the same period in December, whether we can look forward to a Catholic/Protestant split over Chrismukkah, since the Book of Maccabees is included in St. Jerome but not in King James. Much less wanted: Commenters who can expound on The OC and why it's inappropriate to create holidays out of television shows.