Beware of Malevolent Snowmen

snow globe

© A Mixed Bag – 2013

“What is it, Noah?”

“A fake Santa guy at the store gave it to me, Rachel. It’s a snow globe.”


“Beats me, Rach. You shake it and this stuff floats around like snow.”

Nine-year-old twins Noah and Rachel Frisch were sitting on the floor in the living room. Mom, Aunt Sarah, and Bubbe were in the kitchen working on dinner plans and Dad went with Uncle Mortie and Zayde to the hardware store to buy a replacement for a rain gutter that had cracked after the last snow.

“It looks so pretty, Noah.”

“Just a stupid Christmas toy. If Mom caught us playing with it, she’d get mad.”

“If Bubbe caught us…”

“Hello.” The snowman in the globe spoke quite clearly for being underwater. His fake coal-lump mouth smiled and his coal eyes glowed red.

“Noah, it’s not a toy.” Rachel stood up terrified.

“Come to think of it, that Santa guy did smell kind of funny, like rotten eggs.”

“Give it to Bubbe.” The kids whirled to see the old woman scowling at them, her hand extended. “I know exactly which orifice on that old Elf to shove this into. How dare he pull this on my grandchildren!”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of December 17, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I know most people, Christian or secular, consider Christmas in a positive light and it certainly can be for some, but it can also be confusing for Jewish children who see their non-Jewish neighbors and playmates getting lots of presents and otherwise having a terrific time. I suppose it’s why Hanukkah, which is a relatively minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, gets so much attention given its relative proximity to Christmas.

This is my minor attempt to illustrate the dangers of assimilation into the general culture and how it might be a lure to Jewish children (with a slight supernatural spin in this case). Fortunately, Noah and Rachel have a wise Bubbe (Grandma) who will nip this right in the bud.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


16 thoughts on “Beware of Malevolent Snowmen

  1. I appreciate your identification or respect in this area, James (an empathy where you don’t necessarily experience carrying it out in the life around yourself). And your story reminded me that I used to support an organization that was rescuing Yiddish books/manuscripts/writing. (I contributed when they were new. After not very long, maybe a couple years, they got big money backing and I didn’t feel they needed me anymore.) They regularly sent out a magazine that included samplings of what they discovered. Supernatural short stories were not rare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The story was somewhat metaphorical, however I’m sure Bubbe has come across people who have tried to tempt various Jewish family members to assimilate into Christian and/or secular culture. For thousands of years, the rest of the world has been trying to exterminate the Jewish people and what they couldn’t accomplish through inquisitions, blood libel, and even the Holocaust, they now try by tempting Jews away from the Torah, their faith and their identity. Hanukkah is the story of Jewish victory over Greek attempts to assimilate them. That’s the true miracle of the lights each year.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Noah and Rachel are lucky their Bubbe is a woman who knows how to put that certain sulfur-smelling bad guy in his place! And you make a good point, about how confusing it can be if the majority culture is shoving its own traditions down your throat — and tempting you with the great parts — while your parents are telling you to avoid it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aah, not belonging to either faith, I had no idea there is this ‘tension'(for want of a better word) among Jews related to protecting their faith and cultural practices against Christmas. We have been seeing something similar in India for the last couple of years. We have a far-right government now, and there is an active effort to discourage celebration of ‘non-Hindu’ festivals, including Christmas in some parts. It’s being looked upon as an attempt to lure Hindus into another faith by offering them glamour and goodies!


    • Being Jewish is a matter of being a people as well as practicing a faith so efforts toward assimilation are seen as the same sort of threat among some as genocide. Either rids the world of the Jewish people and nation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I somehow never thought of a snowman having a religious connection. It’s okay for this story though. Hindu people often give their children gifts as the children complain otherwise. They love the holiday in India as they love all celebrations. They especially love Santa. It’s another reason to go shopping and buy gifts. Of course, some Indians are Christians and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. Good writing, James. 🙂 — Suzanne


    • There are a number of non-Christian nations that observe Christmas in some manner or another. Japan has “Santa Claus” and very specific rituals around Christmas and New Year, but the also incorporate practices from other religions and cultures as well.


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