9 Best On-screen Jewish Christmas Moments

Top picks include Bette Midler's creative uses for pine cones in 'The Stepford Wives' and a raunchy Nativity scene in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'

Nathan Abrams
Nathan Abrams
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Nathan Abrams
Nathan Abrams

Jews, or at least those in the United States, stereotypically "celebrate" Christmas by chowing down on a Chinese food feast and going to the movies in droves. But what happens when you look for Jews on screen instead of in theaters? Well, that's another story: Finding representations of Jews in Christmas movies or television episodes is surprisingly difficult -- but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Combing the archives turns up some real gems, from "The Stepford Wives" to "South Park." Here are nine choice Jewish Christmas moments in film and TV, in no particular order.

* Jews can feel excluded at this time of year, especially if they feel Hanukkah comes a poor second to Christmas. The opening of "The Hebrew Hammer" drives this message home by highlighting "Hanukkah Past" and the misguided ignorance with which well-meaning Gentiles try to include us. It then flashes to "Hanukkah Present" and shows how awesome being Jewish really is, even without the Christmas fun.

* "Seinfeld" also touched on how Jews feel alienated from the Christmas experience. Its legendary "Festivus" episode features the Costanza family creating its own unique and idiosyncratic celebration involving an aluminum pole, feats of strength, an annual airing of grievances and "Festivus miracles."

* Bobbie Markowitz (played by Bette Midler) is the out-of-place Jewess among a suburb of identikit WASP blondes in "The Stepford Wives." Yet Markowitz revels in her ethnic, religious, and sexual "otherness." She takes this to a whole new level during a discussion of Christmas, in which she explains exactly what can be done with pine cones.

* When your wife’s Christian parents visit for the holidays, what do you do? Hire a local group to stage the Nativity in front of your house, naturally. Well, this is what misanthrope Larry David does in "Curb Your Enthusiasm." True to form, Larry’s big mouth leads to unpredictable results.

* A rare example of Jews celebrating Christmas appears in the British sitcom "Friday Night Dinner." The Goodman family gather for their “traditional” Christmas meal that has disastrous consequences and features a few World War II jokes thrown in for good measure.

* The inimitable "Saturday Night Live" tells it like it really is in this Christmas song. Shh, don’t tell the Gentiles.

* In "Friends," Ross Geller invents a “Holiday Armadillo” to tell his son about Hanukkah. Unfortunately, he is upstaged by Santa.

* "The O.C." blended the best of Christmas and Hanukkah to form “Chrismukkah,” the “holiday with twice the resistance of any normal holiday.” Featuring the dream team of Jesus and Moses, it’s the ideal celebration for interfaith families so nobody feels left out.

* Dreaming of a Christmas featuring singing fecal matter? "South Park" can help. When Jewish character Kyle Broflovski feels left out of the town’s Christmas celebrations, he is comforted by Mr. Hankey, a talking and singing turd wearing a festive hat…

The Nativity scene gone awry in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'Credit: YouTube

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