Simpler Celebrations: Christmas AND Chanukah?

December 1st, 2010

My son came home from school today and declared himself a poor soul because he only gets Christmas presents, not Christmas AND Chanukah presents, like most of the kids in his class.

“You’re kidding,” I said. “Most?”

“Yes,” he insisted. “There’s only like five of us who just celebrate either Christmas OR Chanukah.”  (And he rattled off the names to prove his point).

lightingwreath

Tonight, December 1st, will see some kids lighting candles and getting the first of their Chanukah presents, while others rip open the doors on the first Advent calendar window to snare some chocolate. And apparently, at least here in Bethesda, a lot of kids enjoying both!

It’s tough enough trying to keep the commercialism of Christmas at bay.  How do parents cope with double the demand for presents: Christmas AND Chanukah?

Apparently my eldest son isn’t alone. My youngest son’s teacher told me at pick-up today that the majority of the four-year-olds are celebrating both holidays as well.

My first inclination was to smile. It seems like just yesterday I was debating inter-faith marriage with my friends (and some boyfriends). Would Jewish-Christian couples really be able to honor both faiths as they raised families? Apparently my generation is making it happen!

But how do families celebrating both holidays focus on the traditions that matter most, without the holidays turning into one huge present-fest?   I’d love to hear from those of you who do celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas. Tell me what you’re doing!

calendarbookphoto

In our family, we’ve long had the tradition of the Advent calendar. From one for my eldest to one for each kid, to three – with one for DH and I to share – to this year’s splurge of one Advent calendar for each of us – we love it!

We celebrate Advent with the calendar, Christmas story readings after dinner, and now, Jingle Bells and Ode to Joy on the keyboard.

Christmas Day is just the start of a 12 day celebration finished by Epiphany (which regrettably will be celebrated at Children’s Hospital as my son returns to have his appendix removed).

The holidays are a beautiful time of year. Music, candles, stories, delicious treats and more – all make the holiday spirit last a lot longer than a gift ever can.

What do you think?

This is a post for the Green Moms Carnival on “Holidays Without the Hoopla,” running at The Green Parent on Monday, December 6th.  Head on over there then to check all of the posts from the @GreenMoms!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

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8 Responses to “Simpler Celebrations: Christmas AND Chanukah?”

  1. Tweets that mention Organic and Green Mom Blog | Simpler Celebrations: Christmas AND Chanukah? at Organic Mania -- Topsy.com on December 2, 2010 12:18 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Green Moms Carnival and Lynn Miller, Sappho Tang. Sappho Tang said: Interesting, I never knew it! RT @Greenmoms Simpler Celebrations: Christmas AND Chanukah?: http://bit.ly/hr375Y [...]

  2. Condo Blues on December 6, 2010 11:07 am

    We celebrate Christmas only. We try to do more event type things (my favorite) on the weekends even if it’s something as simple as walking around our neighborhood at night to look at everyone’s decorations.

    I’ve read on many blogs the idea of having one Advent calendar. Instead of getting a small toy or candy for each day, they find a slip of paper with an activity like read a Christmas book, drop food off at the food pantry, donate old toys, decorate the tree, etc.

  3. Lori Alper aka Groovy Green Livin on December 6, 2010 6:48 pm

    We technically celebrate Hanukkah….but it is hard not to get drawn into the commercialism of Christmas. I have learned over the years that 8 nights of gifts is over the top. We have a few nights of smaller gifts and a few nights of sharing with others. This year I found a great site, http://www.globalgiving.org/. They send gift cards and my kids are able to select which charity they would like to give towards.

    You are so right-music, candles, stories and treats make the holidays most memorable.

  4. Lynn on December 6, 2010 8:58 pm

    Beautiful response, Lori! Thanks for sharing and Happy Hanukkah!

  5. Green Bean on December 7, 2010 9:33 am

    Funny, my son came home on December 1st also wanting to celebrate Hanukkah. Most of the kids in his class celebrate only Christmas. There are about 1/4 that celebrate Hanukkah and I believe most of those celebrate both. For us, though, the holidays are already so packed full of activities. I cannot imagine adding more! This year, we do an advent calendar with small consumable treats, coupons or traditional gifts (the Thomas Christmas train set I splurged for 5 years ago makes an appearance in the little drawers year after year) in the morning – after breakfast and getting dress – and then we do a book advent calendar where we read a holiday book (1 for each of the 24 days up to Xmas) at night – after getting pjs on and brushing teeth. It is working quite well this year.

  6. Lynn on December 8, 2010 11:27 am

    Too funny! And your traditions sound lovely. Enjoy this special time and thanks for the comment!

  7. Elena on December 13, 2010 1:04 am

    I don’t celebrate Hanukkah, but always I am interested to know more about this event.

  8. jerry markets on December 27, 2010 8:08 am

    More and more families are celebrating this way! On another note from an earlier post…We are teaching our kids about organics, non-gmo and natural foods at a very young age (they are just learning to read but can spot the organic labels from a mile away). A relative bought us a book called temple and moo…from amazon i think…VERY fun way to teach kids about organics fyi. Keep up the great work! Great blog!!!

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