the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

It's the most "meshuge" time of the year.  As we approach the holiday "sezon," I note that shoppers have a favorite expression:  "Christmas--and Hanukkah-- comes but once a year.  "Danken Got!"

Retailers, on the other hand, want to hear "Jingle Bells" at cash registers.  "Der kasirer" (the cashier) at JCPenney reminds me to "Give like Santa, save like Scrooge." Another says, "Give N.Y.C. style at J.C.P. prices."  Saks Fifth Avenue says "Donate a gently worn coat, Get 25% Off."

My 2009 gift list contains 33 names...and is growing.  It seems like just yesterday that the perfect gift for a 17-year-old "meydl" was a compact.  It still is--if it has four wheels!

I can't help but think of the "All in the Family" episode where Christmas at the Bunkers' finds Archie very "dershlogn" (depressed).  His tree looks like Charlie Brown's and his wallet can only afford "bilik" (cheap/inexpensive) gifts.  Archie was low on funds because he sent a shipment to London, England, instead of London, Ontario, and his company withheld his bonus as a fine.  (Today he would probably be fined for telling his Facebook friends that "Santa isn't coming. He's just breathing hard.")

And in episode #34 ("All I Want For Christmas") on the TV show, "Everyone Loves Raymond" - It's Christmastime, and Ray tries repeatedly to get Debra "in the mood," but he keeps getting thwarted. Debra finally tells Ray that he's sexiest when he's just being himself  The memorable moment:

Ray:  "Now?  You're in the mood now?  It's Christmas, my parents are coming over..."

Who can forget the "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode when Robert enters Frank and Marie's living room, slipping, falling, and finally landing on their holiday shopping bags.

Robert:  "What am I sitting in?"
Marie:   "Eggs.  And egg nog."
Robert:  "And what is very sharp?"
Frank:    "That might be the menorah."
Robert:  "THE MENORAH?"
Frank:    "It was a big sale."

I read the newspaper headlines and find myself "tsemisht" (confused).  One CEO says, "Everything points to a fairly good Christmas."  On the very same day--different newspaper--an economist says, "We're looking for a mediocre Christmas. This is not a disaster.  It's just a soft landing."  The National Retail Federation predicts that Christmas sales will decline 1 percent from Christmas 2008, not as bad as last year when holiday revenue fell 3.4%.

One retail consultant says that retailers have lots of Back-to-School inventory and they've got to figure out how to market it as a Christmas gift.  Didn't they learn at the Sy Syms School of Business that the oldest way to do that is "Half off, come and get it"?

One newspaper columnist urges shoppers to "baheftn" (to join) SCROOGE, the Society to Curtail Ridiculous, Outrageous and Ostentatious Gift Exchanges.

In 1994, Louis Lipshitz, chief financial officer at Toys "R" Us, said, "People this  year are in a spending mood."  Sure, they BUY NOW, and PRAY LATER!

My answer to those who forecast that Santa Claus this  year is on Slim-Fast and may not come down that chute on Christmas Eve:  the Yiddish-ism, "They're making a big 'tsimmes' out of it."

Marjorie Wolfe says that a lot of holiday
happiness is overlooked because it doesn't cost anything.


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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