My kids are pizza bagels. Half Jewish and half Italian (Catholic), they are brought up with the traditions of both religions. ?My husband was brought up to go into debt every Christmas and that Santa gets the kids everything on their list. Unfortunately, that traditions has continued here. (More on that tomorrow.)
I have always loved Christmas. I’m Jewish, and was not brought up with a Hanukkah bush or anything like that. We had a menorah. Period. But my dad and I would go for a ride and look at the lights every year. I loved that. I must say though, I was jealous of all of the families with their sparkly decorations and always wanted that.
I met my now-husband at Christmas. I went to his house and saw all of the decorations and I think part of me fell in love with that as much as him. So when we finally lived together, I really wanted to decorate for Christmas. But as a Jew, I felt guilty. My husband has never been to church since he became an adult. His mom had to leave the church when he was born because she was divorced, so he wasn’t brought up with formal religion.?Now, we celebrate the season, love, family, the end of the year…we don’t really look at it as religious. ?But the traditions remain.
For me, it’s a chance to transform my house for one month a year. We move out the sofa and rug and get the biggest tree we can find. This year’s is about 12 feet. I felt like I was missing out on the good stuff my whole life, so I go a bit overboard now.
My parents do their best to completely ignore it when they come over. They literally pretend that this HUGE MONSTROSITY in the living room doesn’t exist! (See the photo above).
I also make Hanukkah a big deal. I want the kids to celebrate both. I give a gift every night. I have every Hanukkah decoration I can find (which isn’t much), we even have a 2 foot lighted menorah lawn decoration amidst the reindeer and snowmen.
The kids are being brought up more Jewish than not. We celebrate every Jewish holiday, but they also get Christmas and Easter as more seasonal celebrations. They certainly never feel as if they are missing out. I admit it. I used to wish I wasn’t Jewish as a kid because I wanted Christmas. I thought Santa was mean to skip me. ?I never want my kids to feel that way. So they get both.
And I’m OK with that. I love the holidays, I love the spirit. I love the excuse to spoil my kids. I love the decorations. I love the smell of Christmas trees and the smell of Hanukkah latkes frying. This is family. These are OUR traditions.
And I wouldn’t change it for the world.