The holiday season is upon us. In my house, that means we prepare for Hanukkah and Christmas. My husband is Jewish and I’m Christian so we celebrate both holidays. My husband and I aren’t overly religious; however the holidays are very important to us. For us, these holidays are about family and being together.
Celebrating both is great because we don’t have to fight on which family to be with for the holidays (unless the two holidays happen to overlap). In past years, we would spend Hanukkah with my husband’s family in Atlanta and Christmas with my family in California. Now that we have three kids (and flying five people across the country is not ideal), usually Christmas is spent at home in our house. This is nice so that the kids can wake up Christmas morning at home. And since Hanukkah usually doesn’t overlap, Greg’s immediate family comes up to celebrate Christmas with us too.
In our house, we don’t decorate for Hanukkah and I actually don’t have a menorah. Technically, my kids and I aren’t Jewish (I did not convert and the kids go by the mother in Judaism). We also don’t do the traditional eight days of celebration. Instead, we spend Hanukkah with my husband’s family on a weekend during Hanukkah. His entire family (his mom’s side for one event and his dad’s side for another) gets together for brunch and to exchange gifts.
It’s important to us to make it to these family events every year, as my husband has three living grandparents. I love that my kids celebrate the holidays with their great-grandparents. Each child has experienced at least one holiday with four great-grandparents. During these visits, we are at my in-laws house where they light the menorah, so the kids can experience that tradition.
Back when my husband and I celebrated the holidays in our first home, I bought blue and white lights and decorations to decorate for Christmas. Oh, and an artificial tree as a live Christmas tree in the house was a foreign concept to my husband. The artificial tree meant I was guaranteed a tree in the house every year. A live tree also didn’t make sense if we were going out of town for Christmas. Note: This was pre-kids. As the years have passed, we’ve switched back and forth between live trees (when we have time to go pick out a tree) or my artificial tree (when we have too much going on), colored lights and homemade kids ornaments that they have made each year.
The kids make Hanukkah lists and Christmas lists and we do holiday activities for both. We have an elf on the shelf, but no mensch on a bench (even though truthfully, I wish I never started the elf tradition). We send out “Happy Holidays” cards to friends and family that usually has our most recent family photo. Most importantly, we spend lots of time together laughing and with lots of love.
Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones.