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Jewish World Review
Dec. 22, 2004
/ 10 Teves, 5765
Christmas Gifts of the Rich and Famous
By Jeff Dunetz
Chill out, guys.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what type of presents famous people give each other for the Holidays? The other day I got an opportunity to receive this unique insight. Getting comfortable on the evening train, my eyes spotted what looked to be a piece of expensive stationary on the empty seat across from me. Embossed on the top of the page was the name of an unfamiliar company:
Celebrity Shopping Service,
Fulfilling Gift Giving Orders of the Rich And Famous Since 1975.
How cool is that -- a gift service that shops for famous people! (Makes sense though…it must be hard for them to stroll into their local Wal-Mart unnoticed, especially during the Christmas rush.)
Beneath the corporate logo was a list of gifts purchased by the shopping service and the intended recipient. It was grouped according to the renowned person who was presenting the gift.
Celebrity Shopping Service had a fascinating group of clients, and they ordered an extraordinarily list of gifts. One of the first names on the list was, Bill O' Reilly Fox Broadcaster and defender of Christmas.
At the top of O'Reilly's list is a set of Christmas CDs performed by Barbara Streisand. He was sending them to the director of the Passion Mel Gibson. Ms Streisand is a particular favorite of Mr. O'Reilly's. He uses her as proof of his theory that "Jewish people enjoy Christmas too." After all he has said. "Ms. Streisand has made Gazillions singing Christmas Songs, and she sings 'em really well" Included with the music is a nice card to Mel which, along with the usual Christmas greetings, suggest to the director that his upcoming movie about the Maccabees include a scene where Judah Maccabee decorates a Christmas tree.
Not many people know that Mel Gibson is a collector of historic William Shakespeare items. Along with the Streisand music, O'Reilly sent Gibson a rare first bound edition of "The Merchant of Venice" (Mel's favorite). On the inside front cover Bill inscribed a paraphrase of the comment he made on his December 3rd radio show. He inscribed, "Tell those Jews to convert or move to Israel"
U.N. Secretary General Koffi Annan is another client of the Celebrity Shopping Service. Annan arraigned for each of his EU friends to receive a pair of flannel "footsie" pajamas, silk-screened with giant red hearts. The center of each heart has a picture of their idol, the late Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat.
Koffi also sent a gift to the PA's Abu Mazen an $18,000 American Express Gift Card. I guess it was supposed to be 1,000 time chai. The card had the nicest note. "Dear Abu, Yassir took billions form the PA treasury and left it to his wife, so please use this to purchase some gifts for you people. Do not worry if I can afford to give you a gift of this size, it is well within my means (I made some extra money in a recent oil deal)"
John Kerry created a plaque out of one of Dan Rather's most famous quotes "Journalism is more addictive than crack cocaine. Your life can get out of balance." He had the shopping service send it to the, soon to retire, CBS Anchor along with a note, "Dear Dan, well… we tried"
The shopping service can do just about anything. For example, the Board of Governors of the BBC hired the service to create and ship a gift to the King of Saudi Arabia…a handcrafted two-mile long quilt. The quilt is to be fastened on the wall built by the kingdom to keep out people from Yemen. It has an Arabic inscription embroidered on it. Translated into English the inscription says. "Not all fences are bad…just those built by Jews to keep out terrorists"
I was so very impressed with the Celebrity Shopping Service and their ability to find unusual gifts, I sent them an e-mail with a request for presents that I would like for them to find before Christmas.
To Mr. Annan and his friends at the UN and the EU, I send a framed section of the UN Charter… the part which talks about the equal treatment of all nations. I would include a card explaining that maybe its time to re-read that charter and start treating Israel fairly.
To the Board of the Governor of the BBC, they are shipping a copy of Edward R. Murrow's biography with the hopes that they study it to learn the basic tenets of journalistic integrity.
I asked them to send Bill O'Reilly something to help him understand that some of those "people of faith" who voted for George Bush wear a yarmulke. Those of us who are Jewish in practice and conservative in politics feel comfortable with public and private expressions of religion. It is OK when someone says Merry Christmas to me when they don't understand it is not my holiday. I don't even mind public displays of the Ten Commandments (as long as they are written in the original Hebrew, or the translation is approved by a rabbi). However, when a teacher puts up a Christmas tree, teaches kids Christmas carols or has someone come into class wearing a Santa Claus costume, they are pushing one religion over another. Forcing my children to celebrate Christmas in school is the majority forcing their religion on the minority.
The Pledge of Allegiance talks about "one nation under G-d." Throughout the 240 years of U.S. history we have fought to ensure that one person's vision of G-d should not be enforced upon another.
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Jeff Dunetz is a regular contributor to Jewish World Review. Comments by clicking here.
© 2004, Jeff Dunetz.