Growing up, my family celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas. My father, a Jew, helped us light the Menorah. My mother, a Catholic, decorated the Christmas tree. And me, a greedy little materialistic boy with a sweet tooth, ate cake and opened presents until I passed out upon on a pile of icing and wrapping paper.
Looking back, If I had to compare Hanukkah and Christmas strictly based on fun, devoid from religion, it's clear to me: Christmas wins.
Magic reindeer, mountains of cookies, a big fat man with a white beard who brings you anything you ask for? It's just not fair. How can you expect a dreidel to compete with that? Unless after the dreidel is done spinning, it transforms into a unicorn.
But, unquestionably, there are perks to being Jewish on Christmas. Because on December 24 and 25, you get the whole city of Miami to yourself. And, even on Christmas, Miami doesn't stop partying. So, this year, let them have their bright trees and shiny presents. Drink all the eggnog you want, and sing "Jingle Bells" until your vocal chords fry, because Miami is yours, and here's how you can celebrate.
6. The 4th Annual Jewbilee with the Jew Tang Clan and DJ A-Train. 10 p.m. Thursday, December 24, at Blackbird Ordinary, 729 SW 1 Ave., Miami; 305-671-3307; blackbirdordinary.com. Admission is free.
There is perhaps no better way to spend the Christmas you don't celebrate than with the Jew Tang Clan, Notorious Nastie's latest musical project. Nastie, born Nassie, the Hebrew word for "prince," is leading the chosen ones in what's sure to be the dopest thing going down on Christmas Eve (sorry, Santa). The Jewbilee will feature a performance by the Jew Tang Clan as well as some beats from Miami's own DJ A-Train. Oh, there will also be Manischewitz. Suck it, Christmas!
5. Mala Noche — A Nightmare Before Christmas. 9 p.m. Thursday, December 24, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2 Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is free.
Of course Churchill's is open on Christmas Eve. In 40 years, when Miami is literally underwater, Churchill's will still be open, serving whiskey to scuba divers while manatees mosh at a very slow pace. And even though this is somewhat of a Christmas-themed show, anyone will feel at home. It won't exactly be a Christ and cookies sort of night — more like an old testament sort of night. The entertainment includes Dyslexic Postcards, Dino Felipe, Jaded Junkie Nurse featuring Birdman, Love Splash, Kenny Millions, Marq Iggy, Tegan, and the Catacomb Crows. It's like the Little Drummer Boy got possessed by a demon.
4. Christmas Dreaming with Matthew Dekay. 11 p.m. Friday, December 25, at Trade, 1439 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-6666; trademia.com. Admission is $20. Ages 21 and up.
Trade is staying open Christmas night, because Miami's been good this year and it deserves the sacred present of house music. Instead of stuffing ham and fruitcake down your gullet, you could be dancing the night away with Dutch DJ and classically trained musician Matthew Dekay. Doesn't that sound nice? Don't shake presents; shake booties.
So maybe Jesus Christ isn't your thing. Why not connect with a different kind of Jesus on Christmas night? L.A.'s Deep Jesus will be leading his flock in a congregation of gyration at Do Not Sit on the Furniture this Xmas. Hey, Jesus knew how to party. Remember when someone handed him a glass of water and then he was like, "Bro, why isn't this wine?" And then it was so.
2. Xmas Night with Oscar G and Lazaro Casanova. 11 p.m. Friday, December 25, at Heart Nightclub, 50 NE 11 St., Miami; 305-912-3099; heartnightclub.com. Admission is free.
He sees you when you're sleeping? He knows when you're awake? Can we reflect for a moment on the fact that we've been letting what sounds an awful lot like a peeping Tom sociopath infiltrate our chimneys for hundreds of years. I don't care if you're carrying a sack of toys. This is Florida, and we have very flexible Stand Your Ground laws, Mr. Claus. It's probably best to avoid this jolly old creep altogether and hide out at Heart with Miami's Oscar G and Lazaro Casanova.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Disco Dreidel with DJ Derek Walin and Matthew Postrel. 11 p.m. Thursday, December 24, at Basement, 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-641-7119; basementmiami.com.
The dreidel you know and love just got a lot funkier. On Christmas Eve, Derek Walin and Matthew Postrel are going to make you spin until you throw up the $35 Chinese Dinner special Market is offering upstairs at the Miami Beach Edition. The good news: you don't have to wake up early the next day and pretend to be excited about yet another Macy's gift card.