Mr. Peep Toe and I are a ‘mixed’ family. No, not ethnically mixed, but we come from mixed religious backgrounds.
He grew up with Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and a bazzillion more Jewish holidays that I am still trying to wrap my head around, while I grew up with Christmas and Easter.
I promise to write another post discussing all the religious facets for our interfaith relationship, but with Christmas and Hanukkah coming up I want to focus on the cultural celebration in our household: Chrismukkah!!!
Some of you might recognize the term from the oh-so-bad, but totally good show, The O.C.
For Mr. Peep Toe and my first holiday season together, we found an amazing website for all things Chrismukkah: www.chrismukkah.com. We immediately bought this book:
Hilarious and fabulous would be how I would describe the book and our first Chrismukkah together. We had a travel menorah that we carried from house to house, we even lit it while babysitting my niece. We were both embarrassed on Christmas morning when Mr. Peep Toe had no idea what a stocking stuffer was (totally my bad for not explaining, but who doesn’t know what a stocking stuffer is??).
We took our second holiday season together a little more seriously. We enrolled in a class at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center on Interfaith Holiday Celebrations. It was quite possibly the most enriching afternoon we had spent together as a couple. By discussing what the holiday’s symbols, colors, and traditions meant to us individually, we provided the groundwork for how we discuss our religious differences to this day. Mr. Peep Toe thought everyone ate ham on Christmas, he wasn’t comfortable with green and red, and the tradition of trimming a tree was important to me, just as lighting a menorah was important to him.
We had to discuss what we thought about each other’s holiday, what we were comfortable with, and what aspects of the holiday were important to each of us.
We decided then and there that what mattered was our own traditions.
We decided that I could decorate, but I’d use neutral colors and symbols, like silver and snowflakes.
We went out and bought a menorah and stockings that symbolized us, and we display them both equally on the mantel.
Here’s a picture of our mantel from the first night of Chrismukkah last year.
We also decided that we would exchange gifts on the first night of Hanukkah and on Christmas morning. And that if one gift was BIGGER than the other, it didn’t matter which day you gave it on.
We also found some Christmas music that Mr. Peep Toe actually now requests! And we decided that one day around the holidays we would spend the day cooking a meaningful holiday meal to incorporate both holiday traditions.
We also realized that while both holidays mean different things religiously and culturally, they were about bringing family together, appreciating what you have, and celebrating joy, peace, and happiness!!
So this weekend, Mr. Peep Toe and I are going to buy our first Chrismukkah tree together and eat some latkes (Trader Joe’s has some surprisingly good ones) and some Christmas cookies!!
Have you changed the way you celebrate the holidays due to your love? And have you adopted your own holiday traditions as a couple?