Posted by R. Berg on December 11, 2003
In Reply to: Hannukah Bush posted by Ebony on December 11, 2003
: : : I first heard the term "Hannukah Bush" when I was a child, in the late 1960's. Hannukah Bush is a mildly derisive term for a Christmas tree put up in a Jewish household to appease the children. My first exposure to this phrase was overhearing one of my Jewish classmates asking another, "you guys puttin' up a Hannukah Bush?" and being a child, I thought there really was such a thing. I grew up in a town that was mixed pretty evenly, at least in my neighborhood, between Catholics and Jews. It seemed reasonable, that since Jewish people worshipped on Saturday and we did on Sunday, etc., that they'd have a bush while we had a tree! Roughly the same, only slightly different.
: : : I wonder when the term Hannukah Bush was coined, who first used it and what the context was...
: : I looked in a couple of regional slang books and in The Joy of Yiddish. No luck.
: Then, of course we have George W Bush whose personal utterances are greeted with derision worlwide - the set speeches are OK. Perhaps we have the makings of a whole new phrase here 'George W. Bush'; what does it mean?
I've heard "Hanukkah bush" used for a Jewish household's Christmas-tree substitute without derisive overtones.
There's a plant called Wandering Jew. For the sake of fairness, a Unitarian friend of mine, part Jewish by heritage, calls it Creeping Christian instead.