The Hassle of Interfaith Traditions – By Cara Potapshyn Meyers
I will admit it. I am tired and overwhelmed celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas in our home. Thank goodness that at least the holidays are spread apart this year by a few weeks.
I’m exhausted. I am exhausted by my life. I am exhausted by issues with my son’s teacher that need to be resolved. And as my son is getting older, I am getting exhausted by his mile long list he has of items he wants for Hanukkah and Christmas.
Yes, we are raising him in the Jewish faith. But we don’t celebrate Christmas for it’s religious aspects. We celebrate it because, “it was Mommy’s tradition growing up.”
My son believes in Santa…still! You would think by now, after going to Hebrew school for his third year and having Jewish friends, he would have been let in on the secret that, “No, Brandon…there isn’t a Santa Claus.” But my son is not buying it. Or at least he is so smart that if he let’s on that he realizes that there ISN’T a Santa Claus, he won’t get as many gifts. I am tending to lean towards the latter. However when he approached me this past weekend about writing up a list for Santa and wanting to mail it…stamps and all…I’m really not sure.
In any event, I’m tired. I’m tired of decorating for two holidays. I’m tired of wrapping gifts for two holidays. But I’m not so tired that I want to disappoint my son.
I tried to get away with using only our electric menorah to light a candle each night for Hanukkah. But my son loves to watch the real candles burn and was so let down when I told him we were only going to use the electric menorah, that I dug up the real one and we’ve been using it with real candles. And my son figured out how to use the “CHILD-PROOF” candle lighter!! That’s the most scary thing of all!! It is now locked away. I can’t believe he not only figured out how to use it, but has the strength and coordination TO use it!! I almost fainted when he showed me!!
Anyway…back to this past weekend. My son also wanted to put up our “Holiday Tree.” Due to our old one being too heavy and cumbersome to drag up from the basement myself, I donated it to someone who really needed one and bought a “pop-up” tree from Brookstone catalog. Although it is not as full and bushy as our old one, it was certainly MUCH easier to put up than our old one! And at the end of the season, it collapses flat, in it’s carry box. No more struggling to drag a massive tree up the stairs any more!! And my son just wants a tree to decorate. He really doesn’t care if it is “full and bushy” or not.
I will put stockings on our mantle, but that’s about all. No tchotchkes are coming out. No special dishes. No Hanukkah adornments. Nothing. Nada. None. Because really, the only one who really cares about the Holidays in our home is our son. And at his age, what REALLY matters are the gifts. So the Holidays are going to be streamlined to the absolute bare minimum this year.
The Grinch is residing in our home.