Perhaps you’re donning your gay or rather, festive, apparel, or if you’re like me, you’re sporting a 2-inch, fake-diamond-encrusted Jewish star on long chain around your neck and toting a pair of cardboard glasses with hologram lenses that turn Christmas lights, flames of the menorah and all points of light into, yep, stars of David.

My repertoire of X-mas coping mechanisms has included suspending a shellacked challah from my fire escape (you know, deck that halls with boughs of challee—long story) and, now, accentuating the Hebraic undertones of a seasonal song that always struck me as unassailably Christian. Go figure.

It’s best sung in concert with this version of the original. (Please note: the lyrics below include an extra verse.) If you’re moved to belt out this version—or create your own—please share a video or sound recording. Sing strong, proud, from the diaphragm and without the least hint of “Oy” in your voice.

Listen to “Oy to the World,” sung by Rachel Levine, a classical singer who lives in Brooklyn, NY, here. 


Oy to the World

Oy to the world, the time has come
Now that Thanksgiving’s gone
You’re getting requests for so many checks
and hearing a lot of this song
and hearing a lot of this song
and hearing quite a lot of this song.

Oy to the earth, a surprise is nigh.
Trust, I intend no harm.
You may not have sensed
Semitic undertones.
Yet, this song is based on a psalm
This song is based on a psalm
This song is based on a Jewish psalm.

Oy to the world, it’s wintertime.
Well, technically, it’s fall.
The trees still have leaves
Amid the evergreens.
Vivaldi knew it all
Vivaldi knew it all
Vivaldi knew “Holiday” was no season at all.

Oh, look at that, it’s Santa’s sleigh,
And some kid festooned in bells,
Eggnog on your breath,
Gift wrap at your desk.
And for me, potato smells
And for me, potato smells
For me, onion and potato smells.

Stuck in a sea of red and green,
I’ve reached an all-time low.
December’s maiden week
left me feeling bleak.
In place of mistletoe
In place of mistletoe
I’ll hang a donut in place of mistletoe.

Photo: Deborah Kass’ OY/YO sculpture (Twitter)