“Our hypothesis is that Jews with children are more likely to be affected by the presence of Christmas, because Jewish parents might worry that their children would feel left out, intermarry, or convert.”

December 26th, 2011

That is, Christmas, a fun holiday for children, induces Jewish parents to *compete*. Thus, if the presence of Christmas is important, we expect that Jewish parents will celebrate Hanukkah more intensively than Jews without children. . . .

We present four findings. First, Jews with children under 18 are more likely to celebrate Hanukkah than other Jewish holidays. Second, the correlation of having children at home with Hanukkah celebration is highest for reform Jews (who are most exposed to Christmas), followed by conservative Jews, and is lowest for orthodox Jews. Third, the correlation of having children at home with Hanukkah celebration is higher for strongly-identified Jews. In contrast, these differences in correlation are not present for other Jewish holidays. Fourth, *Jewish products* have higher sales at Hanukkah in US counties with a lower share of Jews. These patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that Jews increase religious activity during Hanukkah because of the presence of Christmas and that this response is primarily driven by the presence of children. Jews with children at home may celebrate Hanukkah more intensively so their children do not feel left out and/or because they are concerned their children will convert or intermarry. 

This seems right to me. Gentiles are always so confused when I tell that that Chanukkah (or however the hell you spell it!) is not that big of a deal. I light candles, don’t really bother with presents.

H/T Orin Kerr