Many interfaith families find the month of December to be easier to manage with Christmas and Chanukah do not overlap. That way they can devote time to each holiday with the side of the family that celebrates it. But when, like this year, they are on top of each other the sorting out can be hard. Remember this, the majority of American families deal with trying to do THE SAME HOLIDAY (Christmas) with two families, or even more. Some suggestions:
1. Since Chanukah covers eight days, chose time before or after December 25th to spend with the Jewish family members. Give December 25 (or in some families, Dec. 24) to the other side of the family. (I hesitate to say the Christian side of the family because many of you have told me that you do not identity as Christian but you love Christmas as a family holiday.)
2. Accept that Chanukah is neither a national holiday nor a significant Jewish holiday and let it be low key. Just light the candles as many evenings as you can manage and promise yourself to make a bigger deal of another Jewish holiday.
3. Experiencing angst, depression or conflict? Feel free to call me. You can also simply get through this year and we can discuss making next year better during the religiously neutral months of January or February.
4. Go away for the holidays. A significant number of families tell me that they avoid the issue by taking a skiing vacation or a tropical vacation. The vacation is their gift to each other – no cooking, no house cleaning, no office.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE “OVERLAPPING” YEARS?
Share your solutions with me and I’ll send them out to everyone. If you have something that works, please, offer it to others.