A friend's son's preschool is having their annual Hannukkah Festival on Saturday, changed from last year's Holiday Festival. It does make sense, as it's a Jewish Community Center--even though the majority of the kids aren't Jewish. But they do Shabbat every Friday and sings songs, and learn Jewish stories, so Hannukkah Festival does seem apt--I mean, are they worried about offending the Christians? Anyhow, a friend expressed discomfort at last year's festivities, as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was represented at a Hannukkah Festival,a nd he thought it was a little jarring.
I mentioned to him that if Rudolph had 8 pointed antlers, four on each side, he would look like a menorah, and you could use his nose as the "shamash", the middle candle used to light the others.
And--going further--Rudolph is the 9th Reindeer, whose light helps the other 8 reindeer see their way. And the light burns through the night, much like the Hannukkah miracle (although that's eight nights, but go with me on this one).
Although Rudolph was written to bring in shoppers to Montgomery Ward in 1939, and wasn't written by a Jew, I wonder if there wasn't a little Holiday magic going on there. So Rudolph could actually be the tie that brings the traditions together. Now we only have to figure out how to include Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kwanzaa, Sufism......
But I will think of Rudolph now as a giant flying Menorah, lighting the other candles in front of Santa's Sleigh. Since my Mother's Jewish and my Father wasn't, it brings it all together for me in a lovely way. I hope it works for you, too--a flying venison (kosher!) menorah pulling a Saint in a sleigh. I love the holidays.