For a kid brought up by traditional Jewish parents—for whom the thought of a Christmas tree in the living room was as forbidden as a big ol’ ham steak on the dining room table—Christmas could be torture. When I was five, I even packed one of those girly vinyl pocketbooks with all that I thought would matter for survival and told my parents I was going to move to a convent so I could really celebrate Christmas. (Why not take it to the extreme?)
So when I first saw the SNL short Christmastime for the Jews, it wasn’t just a combination of so much I love—a take on Rankin-Bass’ claymation holiday specials, hilarious writing, and the voice of rock ’n’ roll Christmas, Darlene Love, singing to a Wall of Sound that could be straight out of 1963—but it was downright catharsis. Robert Smigel and his creative team take that profound sense of holiday alienation and brilliantly turn it into a party, a not-so-alternate universe, where Jews rule the streets on Christmas as their gentile counterparts enjoy their homey hearths, stacks of presents, and sense of belonging to a dominant culture.
Just watch it. And you don’t have to be Jewish. My WASP husband gets almost every joke.