Where Will You Spend Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah?
Non-Jewish families are often confronted with which spouse’s family will get them for Christmas. One solution is to flip back and forth for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For interfaith families the question of “who gets us?” can be, Thanksgiving with the Jewish family and Christmas with the Christian (or not Jewish) family. However, some families really want you for both holidays and don’t readily take no for an answer. What to do?
First, discuss it between the two of you and decide what YOU want to do. Then present a united front to extended family. “We are looking forward to spending X holiday with you and Y holiday with Lee’s family.” If family members get huffy or dramatic, remain firm and unemotional. Point out to them that it is important to share.
Another option would be a huge gathering of ALL the family on both sides. Honestly, that could be fun and educational for everyone.
A third option, that I’ve had couples take, is to pack up the immediate family and go away together. Go to Tahoe, Hawaii, or the dining room. If it is just too much for you, opt out.
If you and your partner can’t agree on a united front, it is time to do some experimenting. What did you do last year? Discuss it in detail and look at what worked and didn’t for each of you. Then each of you should formulate and WRITE DOWN what you personally would like. Read each other’s versions of the holidays. Do one of them this year and the other one next year. Don’t complain, cooperate and see what you learn. Agree that this is a two year experiment with no final decision until all the data is in. Your assignment is to record what you DO and how each of you feel about it. Let’s say you decide to have a Christmas tree. Each of you will help put it up, do your best to be cheerful and then write frankly about the experience. What are your dislikes, fears and anxieties about a tree? Next year, don’t have as tree and again, go about Hanukkah cheerfully and record your dislikes, fears and anxieties.
Not everyone in the world celebrates Hanukkah or Christmas. People are living happy, mentally healthy lives without our beloved holidays. You can test drive the experience of being the minority and the majority in your own home.
Need more guidance? Just shoot me an email or give me a call. Let’s make this interesting and useful.