I am the first person in my family to have married someone outside my religion. Same goes for my husband (we think). It’s been pretty wonderful to be able to share our different holidays with one another, without having to negotiate which of our families we are spending what holiday with. Now that we have kids, the holidays are even more fun (and exhausting), and have enabled us to form our unique holiday traditions and come up with ways our family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas.
We keep our celebrations pretty simple. I mean, both my partner and I work full-time and our kids are busy with school and extra-curricular activities. So other than putting up some decorations the kids have made in school, and getting them on board with the concept of giving rather than receiving, there isn’t too much we do to specifically celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah (Chanukah). We want the kids to know why those holidays are significant to our respective families, but we don’t attend church or go to synagogue, so our kids have only rudimentary knowledge of the religious origins of these particular holidays.
As they get older, they will be more curious about religion, I’m sure. They already ask us frequently if we believe in God. I don’t, but my husband tends to avoid the question. For now, at ages nine and six, we can keep our explanations pretty basic and grounded in the idea that the more we are exposed to a variety of cultures and practices, the more we’ll understand each other. Keeping that in mind, here are a few ways our family celebrates both Chanukah and Christmas: