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Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas

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Very often, the families that share different faiths are facing what is known as the “December Dilemma,” which means that they have to choose whether they will celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. Although there are the families that celebrate both holidays, a number of families still focus on only one. If you’re facing the same dilemma right now, read on to understand the reasons why families celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas.

For deeply religious parents, raising a child in different religions is conflicting and undesirable. Even Rabbis advise to choose one religion for the child because if parents preach different traditions, the child may eventually disregard both. When one religion is selected, parents will celebrate the respective holidays of that religion.
The parents who aren’t identifying themselves that strongly with this or that religion may fall into even more confusion thinking if other religious holidays (Passover, Easter and others) should also be celebrated. The fear that arises here is that children will take these holidays as a way to get more presents. Despite these concerns and fears, many families continue celebrating both holidays, and they have their arguments for that.

The first argument is: celebrating holidays of both traditions allows the children to know more about history and traditions and become more culturally literate.

The second argument is: the Jewish families choose to celebrate Christmas because they don’t want their children to feel “left out.” After all, decorating a Christmas tree and receiving presents are great things to do for every child, and it’s not necessary to understand the tradition and origins of this activity. For the vast majority of the grown-ups, these traditions are one of the most cherished childhood memories.

The third argument is: both holidays are intertwined. After all, as Christianity finds its roots in Judaism, the Jews respect and honor Jesus Christ. Both Hanukkah and Christmas share the gift and miracle of light. For the Jews, it’s the eight days burning of the Menorah, while for the Christians, it’s the light Star of Bethlehem. 

One great advantage of raising a child in different traditions is that it gives him/her a more accepting worldview. This, in its turn, gives the ground for respecting other traditions and points of view.

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