Mixed Blessings Of The Holidays

Having just written a popular Care2 post last week, How Grateful Are You? Take The Test, I thought I was ready to shift into a few posts about the winter holidays. Instead I found myself contemplating a peaceful way to get away from the clutches of the Holiday Creep. Now it's time to delve into another topic that tugs at some of us as we merrily inch closer to holidays ~ Holiday Traditions. It's a biggie around here. Do you have more than one set of holiday traditions in your home? If so, I believe that with compromise and understanding, the symbols and rituals of Christmas and Hanukkah can be interwoven to create new traditions.

When I wrote about this a few years ago, I Goggled around to find statistics about interfaith families. I discovered that approximately 25-35 percent of American couples are part of an interfaith relationship. This makes the winter holidays a uniquely mixed blessing.

I’ve always approached the issue of blending Hanukkah and Christmas from gut feelings. These include sharing the best of both faiths and the richness of a multicultural extended family. Around here it is not fraught with difficulty or resentment. We are all rather enriched by the integrity, sensitivity and respect we share about the subject. When my kids were young we talked about the acceptance of discovering new traditions by reinforcing the similarities instead of the dividing differences. We stayed connected to our respective holiday traditions and built new ones together. This year is a bit easier, as Hanukkah starts on Wednesday. Then in a few weeks the Christmas tree decorations can be hauled out (we're always a little late getting the tree up).

Here’s a mix of somewhat unusual and non-traditional ideas for bringing the symbols of Hanukkah and Christmas into your home. Does your family blend together holiday traditions?

Econesting Notes:

Please check back tomorrow because I have a surprise for those of you who have a long holiday gift list. I promise to offer a creative eco-friendly alternative. Stay tuned and...

Happy Hanukkah to those who light the menorah this week!

Photo: Life Magazine