Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmahkkah, Yo.

Our little family is one of mixed religions. My husband, Pete, is a Catholic who follows Lent to about 85% accuracy and goes to church when one of our nieces or nephews makes a Sacrament, and I am Jewish and only lit the Hanukkah candles on night one this year. After that, my son, PJ, was down for the count with strep throat and that was the end of the nightly fire and prayers.

Our apathetic religious feelings aside, it has always been important for us to share the magic and tradition of both holidays with our son. It's truly unfortunate that strep struck this year, because I was looking forward to teaching PJ the Hanukkah prayers and lighting the candles with him. The story of Hanukkah is such a sweet one- the miracle of a tiny drop of oil lasting for eight nights, enough time to rebuild a temple. We missed our chance this year to sit as a family and watch the flames flicker, but next year, PJ will be six by the time Hanukkah rolls around, old enough to hold the candles <i>with no help</i>, a privilege I was so excited to get when I was his age. I'll teach him how to play the Dreidel (a skill I never mastered as a kid) and we'll eat gelt to our hearts content.

As for Christmas, I would love for PJ to know more about the story of the birth of Jesus versus the birth of Santa's chubby butt down a chimney. The whole <i>magical getting presents</i> deal is so much fun, especially since I became a mother. But my Jewish, teenage self was in choir and absorbed the powerful music of the holiday, all of the real <i>take me to church</i> music. I hope we can take him to midnight mass one year. PJ is already immersed in the traditions Pete grew up with, and I would love to not only expand his scope of Christmas in the religious sense, but to begin our own traditions within our little family.

As for this year, there's two nights left of Hanukkah and PJ is healthy, so we will light the candles tomorrow after the sun goes down and pray over the little flames. Tonight, when I was getting PJ ready for bed, I threatened to call Santa and cancel his presents when he balked at taking his amoxicillan (it totally worked! Score!). We do the best we can to merge the two worlds we brought together when Pete and I married and had PJ, and hopefully, the love of the season will cover up any mistakes we make along the way!

Brie Latini is a thirty-something mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and fan of guilty-pleasure television. She currently lives in Collingswood, NJ with her husband Pete and son PJ. A work-a-holic turned stay-at-home-mom, Brie is enjoying her emerging second career as a writer as it now gives her a better excuse to pass on housework (“You load the dishwasher; I have to write!”). Brie’s work has been featured at Jersey Moms Blog, Mamalode, and MetroKids Magazine Online. You can read more about Brie’s journey through life as the mother of a special-needs child at her personal blog, {...a breezy life}.

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  1. Loved this. I love having different cultures come together during the holidays. This happens in our family as well. My aunt is Jewish so we try to tie her traditions in with our Catholic ones. It is so wonderful to expose our children to this! Happy Holidays. aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com

  2. PJ will grow up rich with not one but two sets of traditions, which give birth to a third set unique to your family!

  3. PJ is so lucky to be able to be immersed in not one, but two rich traditions. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I heart my little Irish Catholic Jew-Jew Bee!

  5. It's kind of a shame that Hanukkah got the shaft this year, thanks to strep. He wasn't even 100% yet for Christmas, but it was still a great day! Passover is one of the bigger Jewish holidays, and as he gets older I would love to have a more traditional sedar with my family!

  6. HA! You know me well enough by now to know that "unique" is the word! :-)

  7. Thank you!!! That's amazing that your family can be so open and welcoming to your aunt's traditions! My nieces and nephews were very interested in aspects of Judaism as they got to know me, particularly when they were all on our wedding!


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