Return to song list

JEWISH KID BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY TALKING BLUES   
©2010 Sally Fingerett, Green Fingers Music,BMI

Back in 1954, down in Chicago, by the south shore
Baby girl is born that Christmas morn, oh here comes drama
Of those Christmas babies that arrive, she’s one of the lucky- in the first five
Wins free diapers, a whole year’s supply, oh got a happy mama
The hospital nurses were more than delighted to help with the names they get all excited
Name her Mary Carol? Or how ‘bout Christine, there’s always Judy or Josephine
You know, use the letter J in honor of – shhh the baby Jesus

But the parents were having none of that, so they gently replied to avoid a spat.
Oh, thank you for those names, we’re not Christmas people, so if it’s all the same
We thought we’d go with something Jewish, something Hebraic, we’ll call her Esther Shandel
That’s quite a handle for a brand new baby - a trend was starting in the 1950’s
Names were getting Americanized, down sized, de-ethnisized
A futile attempt to depolarize, and so the family decides to be
Translatin’  -  Truncatin’ -  ultimately -  assimilatin’
So the beautiful and biblical name of Esther Shandel gets homogenized on down
They call her Sally - that would be me

Now being born on Christmas really sucks, I got a lot to say and you can trust
My litany will be very long, for years I’ve tried to write this song
I’m a cranky old broad with no decorum - I’m stealing licks from a talking blues forum
It’s my turn to have my say cuz I’m a Jewish kid born on Christmas day
I’m a Jewish kid, Jewish kid born on Christmas day

I remember back, when I turned five, no birthday party would ever jive
No little friends could come around, cuz the Jewish ones had all left town
They went to Florida, Christmas break at Bubbes’ house, and the Gentile ones?
Well, come on’…..it’s Christmas!
Back then gas stations and movie theatres were closed
There was nothing open goodness knows
Just one rickety Chinese restaurant - Happy birthday Sally, have whatever you want
What do I know? - I’m five!  They give me rice and a fortune cookie!!

On our way back home from eating Chinese, we’d drive up and down the icy streets
Peeking into windows, see Christmas trees - we’d have us a contest
Which side of the street had the best Christmas lights - sparkly houses lit up bright
But I’m a little girl, I start to cry, I don’t understand why
The Baby Jesus is out in the cold in the front yard manger, covered in snow
Why didn’t they bring him in where it was nice and warm
Near the fireplace, where the stockings were hung
Let him open presents with the girls and the boys
Give him Christmas cookies - let him play with toys
I’d give him my fortune cookie, my fortune said, Learn many languages-go far
I wanted to learn to speak Catholic, and go to Christmas
‘Cuz I’m a Jewish kid, Jewish kid born on Christmas day

I turned ten in 1964 - I was miserable down to my core
Radio and TV were a horrid bore, remember? - before cable?
Radio blasting choirs from the Vatican, TV humming with off the air patterns
Christmas people rushing everywhere - for us, alienation and despair
There was nothing to do but sit and wait, and wait and wait, and wait
As the world came to a screeching halt, mid day on December 24th
Folks said don’t worry kids it’s over soon - felt like we were lost, marooned
Thankful our cousins from Skokie would visit, Aunt Lill was planning on bringing a brisket
She called to say they were out of gas - stations were closed they’d have to pass 
Oohhh Happy Birthday Sally, my mom starts to bake a cake - we’re out of eggs.   OY!

Well, really I could go on and on, no doubt this is one depressing song
Truth is no one forgets my birthday, cuz they know it’s a drag and they all call to say
Hey what a drag, and I say, Yeah, thanks and then I ask them what they
Got for Chanukah, cuz now, this year, it’s also Chanukah - Damn!

I get birthday calls on Christmas Eve, so now I call it Birthday Eve 
Just a chosen few get Birthday Eve, who? - I’ll tell ya! 
Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Buffet, Annie Lennox and Sissy Spacek
I wonder if they all get birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper
Look, it’s Charlie Brown with Lucy and Linus dressed as the three wise men standing
over Snoopy as - shhhh the baby Jesus

In spite of myself, I’ve grown up, trying not to be a bitter adult
But the biggest mishigas of all, is when I’m out shopping at the mall
I’ve had a lovely time perusing - my credit card is perched for using
The cashier asks for my ID, I hand it over – he takes a peek and then I hold my breath
As I wait to see if he notices. Yep, he notices - stand back, here it comes, every time
Oh you’re a Christmas Baby!

Right then and there I have to make a choice, to just say thanks, or raise my voice
And let loose with my talking blues, but hopefully I'm smart enough to choose
To just let it go - turn the other ear, because that’s what the - ssshhhh Baby Jesus would do
He too was a Jewish kid, Jewish kid born on Christmas Day!

Return to song list

T