December is always an interesting time for interfaith families. With so many holidays to celebrate, it’s never simple. But I’ve discovered that this complexity has brought an unexpected richness to this time of year. As our son grows from an infant with no idea of what is going on, to a little boy fascinated by everything, we’ve had to constantly rethink how we celebrate the holidays. This has lead to constant discussions about our different traditions, and what they mean to us. Do we have a Christmas tree? Who lights the menorah? And the big question: what about Ruldoph? While some people might cringe at all that talking, we’ve found that it has not only made us better understand our spouse’s traditions, it has helped us grow to appreciate our own even more. We have decided that even though our kids will be raised Jewish, they will not be raised in a vacuum. We’ll raise them with an understanding and appreciation of both sets of traditions. Our house will have both a tree and a menorah, because that is who we are — an interfaith family with double the tradition of most families. We will teach them that that extra richness is a blessing, and not something to be hidden. It helps that our extended family not only supports us, but looks to our interfaith family as a great excuse to throw even more holiday parties. Celebrating both holidays enriches our family, and makes this time of year with its blending of tradition and family even more special and meaningful.
Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, and Merry Christmas to you all.
For a variety of perspectives on the holiday, you might want to check out InterfaithFamily.com’s December Holiday Resource Page.