Dr. Jim asked in an email (since there ain't enough room in the comments area) how I as a Jew have handled Christmas. It's an interesting question, and my answer surely differs from that of many other Jews.
Anyway, Christmas has basically meant not a whole lot. I realize that's different for a lot of people, but over the years it's gone from being an inconvenience to being a chance to have a day off from work. I don't mean the day has no meaning for others, but for me there's no particular significance.
Let me esplain... wait, there is no time, let me sum up.
First and foremost, I am an Orthodox Jew; "Modern Orthodox" by the current designation, meaning I read non-religious texts, watch TV, surf the internet, count non-Jews among my friends, and some other variations on "regular" orthodox. There are many divisions within Orthodoxy, and this is probably not the best place to go into it.
At any rate, being an Orthodox Jew, we're most interested in maintaining our own faith and its precepts rather than taking on parts of other faiths. Whatever may be said by the "Happy Holidays" crowd, Christmas is a Christian holiday - it celebrates the birth of Jesus. Since Jews do not believe that Jesus is the savior, celebrating Christmas would be (to my mind) tantamount to repudiating Judaism. Since I wouldn't do that, I feel no need to celebrate someone else's holidays. And believe me, we do have enough of our own to deal with.
As a young kid, I have no particular memory of the celebration of the day. A neighbor who used to work for Con Ed (the gas & electric utility in NYC), I remember him having a huge display of lights, and being able to spot my block from half a mile away. I don't remember being jealous of the non-Jewish friends I had and their new Christmas toys.
As I got older, I moved to a more Orthodox school, and we had school on Christmas. Half a day, since there was no school buses functioning, but we had school. It also meant (since I took public transportation) that buses were limited. Here's the inconvenience part - waiting outside for buses that are running once every half hour. In the cold & snow. Not fun. Later on, there's the inconvenience of all the stores being closed. I understood why they closed, but for someone not celebrating who needs a container of milk, it was a pain. That's changed a lot - many places now open for part of Christmas, which I actually think is a shame. Clearly the holiday has lost some of the sanctity it once had.
Since then, Christmas means a day off from work. I'd be happy to go in for someone else & cover them so they could take off, but I work by myself. Instead I get to stay home and spend some time with my kids, which is nice. I do recall getting mad at a Rabbi I knew (not to his face) for insisting that they hold morning services on Christmas at the regular 6:30 AM time instead of bumping it back to 8AM. I know some people feel there's an obligation to avoid celebrating a non-Jewish (religious) holiday, but nobody really thinks a bunch of Jews in prayer shawls are celebrating Christmas by sleeping in until 7:30.
We told my oldest girl last year (when visiting our neighbors and seeing their tree) that this is other people's holiday, and we don't celebrate it. Nothing more, nothing less - it is what it is, and she accepted that.
To be continued...