According to the Pew Research Center, 39 per cent of those who have married since 2010 have a spouse who is in a different religious group. When you’re partnered with someone who’s from a different religious or cultural background, sometimes you need to blend your holiday traditions or create new ones to suit your interfaith needs – especially when those traditions involve kids, blended families or extended families. If your family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah like mine did when I was growing up, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your Chrismukkah (Christmas + Hanukkah) celebration.
Photo Illustration by Elena Scotti/Lifehacker/GMG, photos via Shutterstock
Decorating for Chrismukkah
Why not put menorah ornaments on your Christmas tree or have a Star of David Christmas tree topper? I think simple white lights are festive without declaring allegiance to any particular winter holiday, or you can go for something like this Chrismukkah light garland, featuring symbols of both faiths. The Etsy store Fusioned Family has a lot of interfaith ornaments and wall décor with phrases such as “A House United” and “Oy to the World”.
Christmas + Hanukkah Movies and TV Shows
There are a few movies that depict families celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah at the same time (including Little Fockers and Hitched for the Holidays), but the OG televised Chrismukkah celebration came from the TV show The OC, which aired in the 2000s. The series introduced the masses to the concept of Chrismukkah with phrases such as “Oy Humbug“, and had a Chrismukkah episode during each season.
Books to Celebrate the Season
When I was growing up (in a pre-online shopping era), books about both Christmas and Hanukkah being celebrated together were difficult to find. Now, there are quite a few children’s books that fit this description, including Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus: The Chrismukkah Kerfuffle, Light The Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas, My Two Holidays: A Hanukkah and Christmas Story, Blintzes for Blitzen and Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. For the adults, there’s the book Chrismukkah: Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate the Hybrid Holiday, which is full of ideas on how to celebrate a blended holiday.
You really haven’t lived until you’ve had Christmas cookies and latkes at the same time – a sweet and savoury combination that can’t be beat. Likewise, I think eggnog and Hanukkah gelt go great together. Consider eating some Hanukkah foods (this Food & Wine guide has a lot of new twists on classic dishes) alongside some Christmas favourites at your holiday dinner.
Many families who celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas will give gifts for both holidays. If you’re looking for gifts that specifically celebrate Chrismukkah, how about a nice “Oy Joy” Chrismukkah mug (with holly and a dreidel), or this tote bag with cats celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah with their tails intertwined? The Etsy store Interfaith Living has many great gifts, such as an ugly interfaith sweater, plus they have Chrismukkah gift wrap.
Mixed Blessing is a website devoted to interfaith and multicultural celebrations, and they have got a good selection of Chrismukkah cards, including one called “Santa Rabbi Selfie” and another one that says “Merry Christmutts and Happy Hanukcats” (this one really checks all my boxes, since I love puns and we’re also an interspecies household). There’s also this “Happy Chrismukkah” card featuring The O.C.’s Seth Cohen holding a menorah and a candy cane.
Christmas songs still dominate most holiday playlists, but you can find some Chrismukkah songs on YouTube. Your best bet might be to put some of your favourite Christmas songs on a playlist as well as some Hanukkah ones (I recommend Bagels and Bongos) and hitting shuffle.
This guide to throwing “the ultimate Chrismukkah party” is full of great suggestions, like serving “Mazel Tov” cocktails and mulled wine; eating egg nog doughnuts and Hanukkah candy canes; and wearing a “yamaclaus” (a yarmulke that looks like a Santa hat).
So deck the halls with boughs of holly and a menorah, and have a very happy Chrismukkah!