We do the December holidays differently in our family. For starters, we’ve got a Christmas tree in one corner of the living room and a menorah on the dining table. Growing up, my parents’ different religious upbringings were acknowledged by celebrating both Chanukah and Christmas, but with our own family adaptations. We never said prayers when lighting the menorah, and we received a gift only on the first night of Chanukah. Christmas morning, a multitude of gifts waited for us under our artificial tree. Christmas Eve dinner was often ham and potato latkes.
As a parent now, I continue my parents’ traditions with some adaptations of my own. We have a real tree each Christmas. And this Christmas Eve, lasagna is on the menu.
My husband and I have tried very hard not to make the holidays all about gifts. I think we’re doing a good job of it since last year, at the age of five, my son made his first request of Santa -- a rocket that would launch into space. (Santa brought a bunch of surprises instead). This year my son asked Santa for the movie Frozen, and I feel confident that Santa will recognize my son’s year-long efforts to remain on the nice list.
When it comes to gifts for my husband and myself, we don’t exchange gifts for Chanukah, and we set a budget for Christmas gifts. (This year it’s $50). We share some “wish list” items with each other, and let it go from there. For us, the gifts are a nice bonus but it’s more about us being together to celebrate and appreciate our family and home.
Wishing my readers a holiday that is merry and bright, full of love and laughter!