I grew up with a unique religious background. My dad grew up Catholic, and my mom was born and raised Jewish. Back in the day, it was a big deal for my dad to have dated my mom. According to their families, they were both making a huge mistake. But true love finds a way. The religious differences did split them up for a short time in college, but they reunited and realized that their connection was more important than how they were raised.
When my sister and I were born, they chose to raise us as Unitarian Universalists. The plan worked out — we were able to go to a church that was very accepting of all people, and I was able to learn about all different kinds of cultural celebrations. At home, we celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah when the time came. I still learned about the history of both holidays and felt important that I knew very limited Hebrew. (By the way, the answer is no — I didn’t get a ton of presents for celebrating both. That was something the other kids in my class always asked when they learned that I was culturally Jewish.)
Celebrating both is a more popular choice these days. Plus, dating outside of your religion is more acceptable, so plenty of kids have the benefit of learning both. I’m excited to celebrate Hanukkah with my daughter and continue the tradition, especially since my mom is no longer with us. It meant a lot for her to pass down her knowledge of the holiday, and I look forward to honoring her memory by doing the same. Here are six fun ways to incorporate both holidays into your winter schedule this year.
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