We celebrate both holidays – Hanukkah and Christmas – every year. In theory it is fabulous to celebrate both holidays. In reality it isn’t always fabulous. The problem in celebrating everything is that I sometimes feel like we as a family are rushing through all of the motions and we aren’t really experiencing the essence of what either holiday is meant to be. After all of the hoopla this year, I was left feeling so exhausted and stressed that I became grinchy.
By the time Hanukkah finished I was seriously ready to throw the towel in on Christmas. It sounds crazy but my exhausted brain tried to rationalize – if I get rid of one holiday it would make my life so much easier. Instead of doing something rash I made myself a cappuccino and stared at the lights on the Christmas tree. Then, I came up with the idea to ask my two oldest what they like best about celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah and here were their answers:
Presents (definitely not a shocking answer)
We get double! We have eight nights of Hanukkah and Christmas. We get the Hanukkah Fairy (yes, my husband grew up with this strange tradition) and Santa Claus. Who’s better than us? This answer was pretty much expected. Enough said.
Latkes and Lasagna
We get all the best food. Latkes for Hanukkah and lasagna for Christmas. This was a sweet one that I hadn’t initially thought of myself. My kids definitely appreciate comfort food and they look forward to these holiday specialties. As a matter of fact, so do I! I guess the time spent frying up the latkes was worth it.
Spending Time with Family
We get to see everyone twice. My kids really enjoy being with extended family. When I think back to the holidays as a kid some of my fondest memories are those with cousins waiting up to see Santa fly through the sky on Christmas Eve. My kids only have cousins on the Jewish side but the cool thing is that we invite everyone to our holiday celebrations so my kids are making their own memories. I’m happy about that.
We have so much Hanukkah and Christmas joy. My son really said this through a huge grin. It melted my heart. If he said it to sound sweet as sugar, it worked.
We love all of the lights. Our house is lit up like the sun. It’s like the Fourth of July in December. I guess they are right. There is something magical about the eight nights of candlelight and the electrical menorah in the window combined with the tree, mantle lights and wreath on the door. Okay, so maybe we aren’t really conserving energy very well but we are harnessing a glowing happy feeling.
Giving to Those Less Fortunate
We give to the kids who can’t afford gifts for both holidays. I was shocked to see that they actually realize why we abstain from a gift exchange on one night of Hanukkah. We also participate in a gift giving initiative through our school that allows us to be a Santa to two kids that aren’t quite as lucky as mine. I still think we could do a ton more to give back as a family. But hearing them say this made me realize that at least they are getting the message.
After hearing their answers to this list I’ve decided to continue with both holidays and go through all of the requisite motions that make it special…at least for another year.
Now on to New Years Eve!