The weeks leading up to Christmas are a time when many American Jews, even those who are not religiously observant or do not think often about their Jewish identity, feel conscious of being Jewish and not being part of the Christian majority.
Whether you ignore Christmas altogether (not so easy amid the commercials, office parties, holiday decorations etc.), use it as an excuse to go to a movie and eat Chinese food, or celebrate it with non-Jewish friends or family, the holiday — and its proximity to Hanukkah — can provoke a lot of emotions. Parents often feel pressure to make Hanukkah extra elaborate to quell their children’s (or their own) Christmas envy.
For interfaith families in particular, December can be a stressful time, demanding decisions about whether to celebrate one or both holidays and how to deal with hurt feelings or disapproval from extended family.
Below are some articles (from a wide range of perspectives) and resources for those grappling with, or simply wanting to learn more about, the “dilemma.” Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section. Scroll down for articles that are interfaith family-specific.
For Interfaith Families
Two great resources for interfaith families (and not just in December) are InterfaithFamily and Big Tent Judaism (formerly known as the Jewish Outreach Institute). InterfaithFamily offers a Guide to December Holidays for Interfaith Families along with numerous blog posts/essays about navigating the December holidays.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.