At Christmas, my family usually all get together to celebrate. Our family is very multi-cultural, and this year, our house will be the gathering place. We have family members who are from India, who are Jewish, and African.
I know that in the past, we've only celebrated Xmas. I would like to be able to celebrate all, but I don't really know how to "integrate" everything in a smooth manner that won't offend anyone. Any suggestions?
By Brenda B. from CA
Have you spoken to your family members to ask for ideas? They might be excited about celebrating other holidays beside Christmas and even be willing to pitch in to help make the gathering at your home extra special. What a lucky family to have so many holidays to celebrate!
For the Jewish Hannukah holiday, the most recognizable symbol is the Menorah, which has 9 candle holders:
8 for each of the 8 days of Hannukah, and one in the middle which is the shamash ("helper or servant"), the candle used to light the other candles.
This year Hannukah is from sunset on Dec 11 to sunset Dec 19. Hannukah is spelled other ways too, like Chanukah or Chanukkah or Hanukah.
The menorah and the candles celebrate the miracle of light, when olive oil in the ancient temple was only enough for one day, but miraculously lasted 8 days.
Having a menorah up at Christmas time would be very appropriate and welcome.
Your might consider having a holiday buffet dinner and have everyone bring their favorite family dishes to share with everyone.
I would think that honoring everyone's traditions would not be offensive to anyone! Contrary to what you may have heard, most Jewish people don't mind if they are wished a "Merry Christmas", and most Christians don't mind hearing about and celebrating other traditions. Diversity is a good thing, so don't be overly sensitive, especially since you're trying to do a good thing by discussing and celebrating diverse customs. Have fun!
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