Celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah for an Interfaith Holiday
As the U.S. becomes increasingly diverse, the country is seeing a blending of traditions around the holiday season. Some families intermarry, and others have relatives who follow a different religion or are of a different race. Having an “interfaith” holiday can be a great way to blend Christmas and Hanukkah, in order to make everyone feel comfortable and included.
Ways to Celebrate an Interfaith Holiday Season
Families have different options for blending Christmas and Hanukkah, depending on their personal preferences. There is no one right way to personalize the holidays.
- Combine the two holidays equally. Some families like to incorporate both traditions into their yearly celebrations. These families generally have a Christmas tree and stockings, while also lighting Hanukkah candles and spinning the dreidel. This can be a particularly good solution for any family with one Jewish and one Christian parent.
- Celebrate Hanukkah at Home and Christmas as Guests. If you celebrate Hanukkah at home but have Christian relatives, you can create a workable solution. You may want to keep Christmas out of your own home and honor your Jewish traditions, while celebrating Christmas along with family in their homes. This works particularly well when the Christian families are accepting of those who observe Hanukkah, as each family will feel understood and appreciated.
- Create Your Own “Mash Up.” Some interesting new traditions are beginning to emerge. For instance, some companies are creating Hanukkah ornaments. Businesses like Shutterfly also have a large selection of ornaments that aren’t Christmas-specific. Gift givers can customize some of these ornaments with Hanukkah-themed messages. Shutterfly also has a number of Hanukkah holiday cards.
- Allow Children to Celebrate with Friends. Whether you are Jewish or Christian, your children might have friends of a different race or religion. Allowing your child to participate in a friend’s holiday, either at a party or at school, is an option you might consider.
Christmas and Hanukkah have roots in very different traditions and beliefs; however, Christmas is becoming more commercialized and less centered on religious practices. Observing both holidays can be a viable option for some families and can make the season enjoyable for all.