Our son spins a dreidel while he eats the leftover Christmas cookies meant for Santa's reindeer. He expertly twirls strands of Christmas lights through our balcony railings, while keeping track of how many Hanukkah candles to light. And at only four, he's figured out that if a gift from his wish list doesn't materialize during the Festival of Lights, it'll probably show up under Grandma's tree a couple of weeks later. He brags to his pre-school pals about getting twice as many presents--because he's a "hybrid kid."
Our family situation is kind of like Switzerland. Well, more like Israel meets Scotland. I'm Jewish, hubby's Anglican, and everybody's happy: We celebrate Hanukkah with my side of the family and Christmas with his. One of the unadvertised joys of being an interfaith couple is never worrying about who's going where for the holidays. Many couples attempt to celebrate--or survive--the same holiday, trying to please everyone. Not us. Our holidays are a clear cut and conflict free. Well, almost. Last year, Hanukkah and Christmas fell in the same week and I thought it might end in disaster.
But it was fine. After spending Christmas with my husband's family, we drove to my parent's place, to celebrate my part of the December holiday two-fer. The only stressful moment came when we couldn't find my dad's childhood brass menorah. But I improvised: I grabbed eight cans of soup, creamed corn and tomato sauce out of my mother's pantry, lined them up on a tray, and topped them with emergency candles. Presto! Happy Hanukkah!
When we sing holiday songs together, there's a unique blend of Christmas and Hanukkah songs (in English and in French), along with a little Bruce Springsteen thrown in. My son's very favorite 'carol' is The Boss' version of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town.'
Our families always acknowledge our son's hybrid heritage: my dad hangs a tiny knitted Christmas stocking stuffed with a candy cane on the fireplace mantel, not far from where the menorah sits on the window ledge. And my mother-in-law sends us Hanukkah cards stuffed with matching stickers.
And me? I indulge in my own holiday tradition: I sip wine and count my blessings: No bickering. Lots of laughs. And a kid who is growing up to celebrate everything. Now that's a gift.