My family celebrates two holidays this time of year. Chanukah and Christmas. My husband and I always loved blending the two holidays together, hanging the stockings near the menorah, putting dreidels on the tree.
Then we had a child.
From our early days as a couple, back when we were just teenagers, we had long discussions of how we would handle the holidays when we had kids. Four years ago we put that plan into action.
From the time our son was just weeks old we separated Chanukah and Christmas. Our open living room/dining room area turned into half Chanukah, half Christmas. I lit the candles and said the prayers. My husband decorated the tree. I read Chanukah books to our son, my husband read Christmas books. We talked about the holidays as “Mommy’s Holiday” and “Daddy’s Holiday.”
This year my son is four years old. As we started to decorate we talked with him about the items and the holidays. He knew what the items were and, more importantly, which holiday they belonged to. I knelt before him and had the following conversation.
Me: What does Mommy celebrate?
Me: What does Daddy celebrate?
Me: What do you celebrate?
In his defense his Grandmother does have a birthday around this time of year.
We talked with him about the holidays and asked him if he wanted to decorate the two holidays together or separate. He opted for together. So, for the first time in four years our home is a mix of Chanukah and Christmas. My son has had some periods of confusion, but he gets it.
I am still lighting the menorah. I still have not read a Christmas book to my son, and my husband has not read a Chanukah book. My son knows he celebrates two holidays.
My heart is full with pride. Sure, he’s four and most excited about the presents. But he gets it. And that is going to be my favorite gift this holiday season.