Ho, Ho, Hanukkah: The Unreal holiday remix! 

Unreal embraces multitudes. We celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Eid, Diwali, Yule and the birthdays of Zoroaster and Chairman Mao. But strangely enough, it is the intricacies of Hanukkah we find ourself explaining most often. Over the years we've worked up a pretty good spiel, embellished with quaint Yiddish expressions, elaborate descriptions of oily food and humorous Rothian tales of familial discord.

But this year something awful happened. Someone asked us to describe a Hanukkah bush and we failed, utterly and completely. Obviously, this was a flaw in our impeccable Hebrew school education — which embraced topics as disparate as Hebrew profanity, the female nude and proper deployment of figs during food fights — one we were determined to remedy.

Once upon a time, we shared an apartment with an ecumenical Christmas tree. It had a string of blue lights attached to a Clapper, a swath of silver tinsel and a bagel on top. But although it prominently featured the two Official Colors of Hanukkah and was crowned by the Official Jewish Food, we have learned that it was still a Christmas tree. It was real, you see, and Hanukkah bushes, in order to maintain the integrity of their creators as Jews, must be 100 percent fake.

The ideal Hanukkah bush must be one of those fake silvery-white trees that you can store for decades. Although one would think that cutting down a tree and wrestling it into a tree stand would be in accordance with the martial spirit of Hanukkah (which celebrates the miraculous victory of the scrappy Maccabees over the mighty Greeks), the truth is, a real tree is too much damned work. It would also spoil the enjoyment Jews take every year in watching their goyische neighbors struggle to mount Santa on their rooftops.

Wrap your Hanukkah bush in blue and white lights and silver tinsel. Hang little dreidels, Jewish stars and menorahs from its boughs. Some sources also suggest animals from Noah's ark, but Unreal finds these suggestions stupid. (Judah Maccabee, hello!) We do, however, endorse images of Kyle from South Park, whose plaintive lament "Just a Jew" encapsulates the Yuletide experience of generations of Jewish children and explains why some people find a Hanukkah bush necessary in the first place.

Stick a Jewish star on top. Or maybe a bagel or a potato latke. (Hanukkah, like most Jewish holidays, is all about the food.) Voilà! as the French Jews say. A Hanukkah bush!

Or, we suppose, you could just pull down your pants. UrbanDictionary.com defines Hanukkah bush as "a long haired vagina that is well groomed." No word on whether it must be blue or silver or trimmed into the shape of a Jewish star. 

Unreal Secret Santa
Shopping for the office gift exchange? In search of a stocking stuffer for your mother-in-law? A steal of a deal? If you answered "Hell yes!" to any of these questions, step right up for the second annual Unreal XXXmas Gift Giveaway!

Last year, inspired by RFT's 30th anniversary party, Unreal went on a wild eggnog-fueled bender and decided to give away some of the trashiest treasures lying around our offices — to you, our dear readers. To borrow a phrase from a different aspect of XXX, the experience taught us that giving does indeed feel just as good as receiving. So here we are again, with our sackful of righteous gifts.

To claim a prize, send an e-mail to unreal@riverfronttimes.com with your desired item's name in the subject line. First come, first served — with one string attached: You must pick up the item at the RFT's offices. Unreal ain't schleppin' to the post office.

Copy of Spliffigami: Roll the 35 Greatest Joints of All Time
In this tokin' tome, author Chris Stone provides step-by-step diagrams that show how to roll damn impressive doobies. There's the "flaming fork," a three-pronged reefer that was apparently inspired by the potheads in Pineapple Express; the "Jolly Roger," which features five joints shaped like a pirate ship; and Unreal's personal favorite, "The Spaced Station," a cardboard tube and a handful of joints that combine to form a Sputnik-like spliff.

A bottle of Man Junk body wash
"True male hygiene has been ignored for too long," proclaims the box that contains this Pine-Sol-scented body wash. "Man Junk is designed to deliver unmatched attention to the male anatomy." That's right: If regular soap isn't strong enough to buff your balls, step up to MJ. What, specifically, eliminates the funk from your junk? Ingredients include organic rose hips, aloe vera and tea tree essential oil.

Copy of Farts: A Spotter's Guide
Ever coined a name for signature types of flatulence? Unreal neither. That's OK; author Crai S. Bower did. From the "flight of the buttock bees" to the unimaginative "silent but deadly," this book leaves no wind unbroken. Each page features a comic book-style illustration, and an electronic keypad attached to the back cover plays a sound effect for each epic blast.

Sixteen-ounce can of drank
When a case of this potent, purple "anti-energy" drink was delivered to Unreal's product-testing lab earlier this year, it nearly shut down the entire RFT editorial department. Computer screens turned fuzzy, attention spans waned, and before we knew it our roll was undeniably slowed. Of course, mixing vodka and Red Bull with a drink that already includes melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), is not exactly doctor-recommended. Unreal feels compelled to advise that you drink your drank but not get drunk. 

Unreal Gives Till It Hurts
Just in the nick of Christmas, a flack has alerted Unreal that all kinds of "junk" from our house can be recycled into instant "treasure." We're told, for instance, that we can send a "G-Pak" to Dollars4Gold.com and exchange our broken and démodé bijoux for cold hard cash. We're informed that bags of aluminum cans yield nickels on the tin, and that the scrap metal we've been saving could translate into scads of crisp Benjamins.

These little schemes all sounded so quaint to Unreal, who, when the going gets tough, is much more inclined to, you know, sell a Glock to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's gun buyback program. But Unreal ain't buying or selling squat this year. Zilch. Nada.

Given the "economy," we've decided to do the old-fashioned thing and simply spread our good cheer.

Thus we present:

Unreal's Wishes for a Merry Christmas!

To loft-dwellers in downtown St. Louis: that you don't get mugged de-icing the car on the way to Midnight Mass.

To condo owners on South Hanley Road: that the cougars at Houlihan's don't press their cheeks against your windows.

To U. City Loop merchants: that Santa doesn't deliver a new trolley tax.

To Galleria shopkeepers: that Metro doesn't put a new stop where Nordstrom was going to be.

To the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department: that ace reporters Jeremy Kohler and Joe Mahr get the ax in the next round of Post-Dispatch layoffs.

To the Post-Dispatch: that your online copyediting (or lack thereof) doesn't cause brain damage.

To the 1,100 laid-off employees of Anheuser-Busch/InBev: that your last case of Bud redeemed with your beer card isn't laced with antifreeze.

To the Archdiocese of St. Louis: that Midnight Mass doesn't get hijacked by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

And to everybody with a driver's license in the St. Louis region: that you keep your Glock in the glove compartment while circumnavigating Highway 40.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo,
Unreal

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