Half the family is Catholic; half the family is Jewish. In the midst of the Chrismukkah season, you’re falling somewhere in the middle. It’s that toasty place I like to call being a Cashew.
I’d like to extend the invitation to all half-Christian, half-Jews, as well. They get it.
Your cultural/religious identity falls somewhere in-between. Being raised as both is a tricky endeavor in a mixed-faith household.
You may be required to go to services on Friday night and Sunday morning. It’s a lot of work, but there are perks.
There is some confusion, as well. You're never quite Jewish enough for the Jewish kids, and never quite Christian enough for the Christian kids. Yet, both are equally jealous that you get twice the amount of presents.
Can you really be half and half? Totally. There are two sides to this gelt, and when something is part of your upbringing, it is part of your identity.
Those traditions stick with you. In this case, there are a lot of traditions to remember. So, whether you pick and choose or embrace it all, think of the things you enjoy.
The Delight of Celebrating Chrismakkah
When Christmas and Chanukah align on the calendar, it’s a Chrismakkah miracle. Popularized by "The OC," Christmakkah is that glorious time of year when two become one. Naturally, you do a proper job of making sure everyone knows.
Some years, Christmas and Chanukah are further apart in the month December. After all, the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar don’t always align.
Regardless, getting to celebrate both holidays with both sides of the family is double the fun. Spoiled, I know.
Double the Presents
What kid doesn’t like loads of presents? Christmas has an undisclosed amount of gifts in one night while Chanukah has one gift each night for eight days.
Some kids pit these experiences against each other, but you get both, so it doesn’t matter.
You’re fully aware of the way Hallmark pits the holidays against each other to sell more things, and you’re totally buying.
All Sorts of Decorations
Your house probably has a Christmas tree and a menorah! Some lucky kids get a “Chanukah Bush” or rather a compromise between your parents. It’s basically a giant Christmas tree with blue and white lights and the Star of David on every other ornament.
Either way, you look mighty festive and there are so many options to chose from when decorating.
Twice the Amount of Holidays
It’s not just Christmas and Chanukah; you also get holidays like Passover, Easter, Purim, Saint Valentine’s Day, the High Holy Days, Good Friday, Lent and Yom Kippur.
I didn’t say all of them were fun. Depending on your family, you don’t have to follow every holiday to a tee. You can probably think of a handful of times you were called upon to explain a particular holiday or religious observance to a classroom, friend or peer.
As the only sort-of Jewish kid in my school for some time, my annual Chanukah presentation became a professional grade seminar. Similarly, the Jewish kids had no clue if Lent was just a different way of saying lint or the past tense of lend.
You Get Guilt
Jewish guilt is totally a thing. Catholic guilt is totally a thing. Combine those and you’re just an emotionally confused adult, except someone has handed you the power of manipulation to use on other susceptible individuals.
On the other side, you can always tell when someone is trying to make you feel guilty as a means of coercion. It’s a vicious cycle.
I feel guilty just writing this. You probably feel guilty reading it. It’s okay, I understand.