What's the History of Jews and Christmas?
For centuries in Eastern Europe, Jews used to fear Christmas because they were insecure about celebrating Chanukah, so they stayed inside mostly. But starting in Western Europe, the Jewish upper class began to get a liking for big Christmas trees and decorating them with fancy objects.
Eventually, Rabbis and famous Jewish people started to pose in front of Christmas trees with extended families, and it became somewhat normal for Jewish people to celebrate Christmas. It felt great for them because they were included more in society.
In the late 1800s in America, Christmas started to get commercialized, and it became much less religious and more about gifts. So now, it was easier for Jewish people to incorporate themselves into Christmas, and it became common. It was just about giving gifts and decorating your home to most people.
Then in the late 1900s, the Jewish religious upper class started to popularize and remind fellow Jews about what Christmas should be about - giving to the less fortunate. It's referred to as mitzvot - and it became popular to volunteer in soup kitchens and hospitals for the middle class after it was popularized. There are several stories of famous lawyers, doctors and bankers in the 1960s who sent out anonymous letters to kids saying "Santa is coming" in an orphanage. Then they'd pop buy in Santa costumes and give everyone gifts.
Moving forward, we should further popularize Christmas as giving gifts to the less fortunate. Especially now during these hard times.