The Holiday Armadillo: An Origin Story

In which a hero of diversity is born

As the year’s end draws nigh and leaves me with little energy but for thinking, I find myself reflecting on my favorite seasonal stories. One of which, of course, is that of the Holiday Armadillo.

It is common knowledge that the Armadillo was conceived by paleontologist Ross Geller in 2000 as part of a campaign to get his young son, Ben, interested in their Jewish heritage. When questioned about the absence of his more popular Christmastime counterpart, the Armadillo reportedly remarked, “Santa was unavailable.” Still, despite the touch-and-go welcome which awaited him, the part-Jewish animal resolutely traveled to New York (“all the way from Texas,” as Ross’s sister Monica added) for the express purpose of relaying the story of the Maccabees and the Festival of Lights.

In a feat of astounding patience, the Armadillo realized his plan of cultural consciousness despite being derailed first by the abrupt arrival of Santa Claus himself (an impressive commitment from Chandler Bing) and then by the arrival of…Superman (an absolutely on-par commitment from Joey Tribbiani). On top of all this, he managed to incorporate his friends into the narrative; Santa was later heard to comment, “My favorite part was when Superman flew all the Jews out of Egypt.”

Two subsequent arrivals, Rachel Green and Phoebe Buffay, mistook the gathering for “the Easter Bunny’s funeral.” The Armadillo deftly dispelled this theory and proved the undeniable happiness of the occasion by inviting them to participate in lighting the menorah.

Against the backdrop of a world at war with itself, the Holiday Armadillo has remained a bastion of inclusivity for nearly a score of years. If you’re looking to broadcast tolerance and legitimize all your loved ones’ festive traditions, look no further.

And whatever you celebrate, Così faccio io wishes you a peaceful and joyous one!

Image: from the official Twitter of F•R•I•E•N•D•S

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti (she/her) lives in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. She co-hosts and produces the music commentary podcast POD SOUNDS. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, taking city walks, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her heroes. Connect with her on Instagram (@c_m_giglio, @ceciliagphotography, @pod_sounds_podcast) and see what else she's up to (

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