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).


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!


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

An LED Rant, Warning and Recommendation

December 10th, 2007

Here at the Green Tacky, Tacky home front, we were quite content with our new environmentally friendly LED lights procured from Target Friday evening. However, upon trying to install them this weekend, we realized that the lights were designed for built-in obsolescence. If one light blows, there’s no way to remove it to replace the bulb. Riddle me this: why are products only half-way green? You see it all the time: organic food served on Styrofoam plates or plastic cards in a food co-op. It just is crazy.

So off we set to our neighborhood hardware store, Strosniders, where they tend to carry the very finest of everything. (They also happen to be 100% wind-powered, isn’t that cool?) For about $3 more a box than the cheap environmentally unfriendly LEDs we bought at Target, we purchased replacement LEDs that came complete with two spare bulbs in the packaging. Check out Good Tidings brand Ultimate Indoor / Outdoor LED lights.

— Lynn

Green Tacky, Tacky

December 7th, 2007

I left small town New Jersey years ago to fashion myself a Washington DC sophisticate. Prior to kids, I had largely succeeded, at least until the Christmas season rolled around and my true roots were revealed: New Jersey through and through. You see, in Jersey, Christmas means Christmas lights. Not the tasteful white lights that women who read “Southern Living” string up alongside beautiful displays of greenery. Christmas means big, honking, obnoxious, “tacky,” as my British DH would say, BIG LIGHTS like at the “Elvis House” in Mahwah, New Jersey and the Koenig Christmas House in Lodi, New Jersey, which features 43,000 lights synchronized to music and a bowling Santa scene.

I tried to explain to DH that next to those crazy light shows, our display of a towering eight foot tall inflatable Santa, blinking choo choo train, miniature lighted Santas up the front walk, and Rudolph (of course), accented by tasteful Southern Living-esque white icicle lights along the front of the house was positively modest.

What I never realized as I amassed that amazing collection of Christmas lights at various post Christmas close-out sales was that unlike the fine New Jersey lights of my youth, these were designed for built-in obsolesence. There’s no way to replace the bulbs, and besides, now that I’m more energy-aware, I felt a bit guilty of an eco-sin.

So tonight we trudged out to Target to get some energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. Regrettably, LEDs are seriously lacking in the tacky department. We did manage to find some multi-colored big bulby looking lights for the house and a rounded Merry Christmas sign, but I had to pass on a replacement choo choo train, Rudolph, and mini-Santa lights because they were none available in the LED section. What’s more, the multi-colored LEDs were nearly sold out. There were plenty of those bright blue LEDs that hurt your eyes when you look at them.

If you need to replace your old energy-hogging incandescent lights with energy efficient LEDs, you better get right to it, because the stores are selling out of them. Here are a few online sources for LEDs:,, and And here’s a cool site that sells solar powered lights –

By the way, if you see any tacky, tacky LED lights, PLEASE let me know where to find them!