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Jewish Christmas Carols: Seven Christmas Songs Written by Jews

Christmas can be a lonely time for Jews. Sure we've got Chanukah, but spinning a top and eating root vegetables pancakes doesn't really make you feel a part of things, especially when everyone else is decorating trees with candy and waiting for a bearded man to cheerfully deliver their greatest material desires. 

But there is one Christmas pastime that Jews have been a major part of, writing and singing Christmas carols. Whether this pattern is out of a need to assimilate, to find a wider audience than Chanukah tunes would ever get, or to pay homage to a fellow Jew's birthday, here's a list of  some of the most beloved Christmas songs not written by Christians. 


7. "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" 
Music by Albert Hague (born Albert Mancuse)

Though the lyrics were written by the gentile Dr. Seuss, only someone with memories of growing up Jewish and converting into Christianity could vilify people lacking Christmas spirit so succinctly.

6. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" 
Music by Jule Styne (born Julius Kerwin Stein), Lyrics by Sammy Cohn (born Samuel Cohen)

The song doesn't once mention Christmas, and with lyrics like: "The lights are turned way down low," "Let It Snow" seems more like something out of the Barry White catalog. But you'll never hear it past December 25, making this a full fledged Christmas Carol. 

Bonus: here's a stellar re-imagining by Boyz II Men.


5. "Silver Bells"
Written by Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans (born Raymond Bernard Evans)

This song sounds more melancholic and alienated once you realize it was written by people who didn't celebrate Christmas.

4. "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer" 
Written by Johnny Marks

Jews are equally sensitive and proud of our sometimes prodigious noses, so it was only natural one would write a carol about a nose that went down in history (like Columbus).

3. "White Christmas"
Written by Irving Berlin (born Israel Isidore Baline)

Perhaps the most nostalgic song ever sung. It breaks our hearts to learn a, "white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know" was imagined by someone who never knew a Christmas.


2. "Winter Wonderland"
Written by Felix Bernard (born Felix Bernhardt)

Another secular Christmas carol that doesn't mention the word Christmas. Makes you wonder if Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the gang at Fox News are on to something about a conspiracy to "take the reason out of the season." 

1. "You Make It Feel Like Christmas" 
Written by Neil Diamond

The fact that the Jewish Elvis wrote this song makes us uncertain how to interpret the lyrics. Is it a love song? Or is it a bitter song toward a lover who makes Neil feel sad that everyone else is happy with their cool new toys but him?

Happy Holidays! 



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