Ah, the holiday season is here. If you’re like most people, you’re setting up your Christmas tree or your menorah, moving around the godforsaken Elf of the Shelf or the Mench on the Bench, and shopping like a whirling dervish. If you’re like my family, you’re doing all of the above.
I’m Jewish and my husband is Roman Catholic, so we observe both Hannukah and Christmas. And here’s the thing: Watching my boys light our menorah by the twinkling ambient lights of the Christmas tree is exceptional.
Holiday cheer is freaking awesome. But, I’m not gonna lie, celebrating both holidays is also freaking exhausting — especially for the person doing all the shopping and cooking (me). By the time we ring in the New Year, I usually need a week just to decompress.
In our house, Hannukah is the time the kids get practical and cute gifts. Underwear, socks, gift cards, stickers, books, and clothes are the essential Hanukkah staple. My kids are usually the ones in November saying, “Thank God, Hannukah is almost here because I reallly need new socks.”
Christmas, on the other hand, is the holiday of shock and awe. New bike? Christmas. Ipad? Christmas.
As the Jewish half of my marriage, I had no problem going along with this plan. Yes, our kids are Jewish. Yes, they still believe in Santa. Yeah, we’re probably the family that the entire “Keep Christ in Christmas” moniker is directed at. And I’m completely alright with that, because, if done correctly, the holiday season should be magical for children. I too grew up in a household of mixed faith, and I distinctly remember the joy that putting up the Christmas tree and lighting the candles on the menorah instilled in me. Those memories are peace on earth personified.
Celebrating both holidays is also about showing respect to both of our families and our backgrounds. While I am a proud Jewish woman who is raising Jewish children, I would never attempt to marginalize the way my husband was raised or the culture that built him to be the man and father I love. His Catholic religion is part of his history. A substantial part of what makes him an excellent and respectful partner is based on his faith. To not honor his beliefs and traditions would discredit our entire family.
This year, just like every year, I’ll be making 25 pounds of potatoes into latkes for my kids to take to school while drinking spiked egg nog and watching White Christmas.
And it will be perfect.