(Closed) How do you handle holidays?

posted 7 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
Member
3620 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I don’t know specifically about Hanukkah v. Christmas, but am having a similar issue with my husband for Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. Our families live close, and I’m perfectly content splitting up for dinner so we can each have dinner with our respective families on Thanksgiving, but his family is very set on us being together for all holiday events now that we’re married. Which means we have to choose. And inevitably, that means someone is going to be pissed/feel left out.

I LOVE Thanksgiving with my family, and if I’m to be honest, the food is much better at my mom’s house (shhh don’t tell MIL I said that!!). We come from a big Italian/French family, so between pork pie, pork stuffing, roasted turkey, cranberry salad, homemade buns, real mashed potatoes… At his mom’s, it’s deep fried turkey, instant mashed potatoes and gravy from a jar, which isn’t horrible… but it’s not what I know and love!

But Thanksgiving is also his mom’s birthday, and he said it would mean a lot to her to have us there… so I’ve agreed for this year, stipulating that we will alternate years, and that we’ll have dessert at my parents’ house (fortunately, they live close by).

But then we haven’t talked about where that leaves his dad in the mix, since his parents are divorced, and we usually have three stops…

I can’t even imagine how terrible this will be if we ever have kids…

Post # 4
Member
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Your FI would celebrate Christmas the same as he did Easter- from a secular point of view. I am Catholic, my new husband is Jewish. We have been together for 3+ years now, and we have always celebrated ALL holidays together with each other’s respective families. Christmas and Hanukkah, even when they cross, aren’t really a big deal. We have a Christmas tree and a menorah. For Hanukkah, we celebrate one night with his family, and the remaining nights we celebrate at home by ourselves. He comes to Christmas Eve mass with my family. Same thing with Easter. We do Easter with my family, Passover with his.

Post # 6
Member
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

You’ll be fine! Honestly, being in an interfaith relationship, the only thing I worry about at all is how we will handle things when we have a child, (and we have already discussed that), so I don’t even worry about that too much. Beyond that, I fully embrace and feel twice as blessed that we get to celebrate all the holidays together.

Post # 7
Member
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Our holidays are extremely complicated for several reasons and I even have begun to dread them! First of all, my family is not religious, so we celebrate Christmas as more of a family gathering and exchanging presents and putting up the tree. My FI’s family is, if anything, Jewish. So it would seem simple to celebrate Hanukkah with his family and Christmas with mine, right? Wrong! For some odd reason, his parents light the menorah, but do not do anything beyond that. Instead, they make a nice Christmas dinner! I REALLY don’t understand this! If there are presents, they are exchanged on Christmas! So needless to say, we fight for Christmas-with-family time and it’s not enjoyable. Oh, and don’t get me started on Thanksgiving…

Post # 8
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I actually think it is a lot easier not celebrating most of the same holidays because it’s less to divide. In past years we split up on Thanksgiving. This year, since we are engaged, we will be going to both our families because they are only five minutes apart. Otherwise he comes with me for Catholic holidays and I go with him for Jewish ones….my parents even came to his grandparent’s for the High Holy Days this year! We will also have a Christmas tree and menorah. We go to church with my family for Christmas and Easter, just to be with my family–if they didn’t go we would not go either. I agree with a PP…I like having twice the holidays 🙂

Post # 9
Member
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

i’ve been celebrating christmas with FI’s family (i’m jewish) for years now and i love it! i just think of it from a secular viewpoint. same with easter. hannukah is honestly the least religious jewish holiday there is, so don’t worry about celebrating that with his family. you say the prayer over lighting the candles and that’s it.

Post # 10
Member
595 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Crhistmas with my family,new years eve with his, even when I hate his sister and niece, and they both hate me. I had to be fare,and let him sound one with his family,his parents came over fir Christmas with my familythis last year.

Post # 11
Member
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

FI decided a few years ago (when we were still dating) that we would work out a fair holiday schedule should we get married one day (LOL).  Since our parents/family are several states away, obviously we had to do one holiday with his family and one with mine.  I was mostly concerned with Thanksgiving and Christmas, since those are the most important family holidays to me.  Since his family is mostly Jewish, it made sense that Christmas would be with my family and Thanksgiving with his.  FI does not celebrate Hannukah, so that doesn’t really affect us.  This arrangement has worked well for us for many years, especially because both sides of the families know what to expect from us for the holidays.

Post # 12
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Yeah, I just did Hanukkah with my fiance’s family for the first time last year, and it was pretty much just lighting the candles and saying the blessings. 

Oh, and latkes.  Lots of latkes.

And we exchanged gifts, just as my family dies at Christmas.  (My in-laws-to-be are laid-back Reform Jews, it may be different with your fella’s family depending on their level of observance.  It’s my understanding that Hanukkah is a very secular holiday.)

I’m a Christian, so Christmas is a religious event for me too.  We do the secular things — decorating a Christmas tree, baking cookies, exchanging gifts, my fiance puts up with the incessant Christmas music I play — but he also goes to church with me on Christmas Eve.  It isn’t a religious experience for him.  He does it out of respect for me (just as I logged all those long hours in temple for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). 

I would echo some of the earlier posters and say – for the most part, the dual holidays is one of the GREAT things about having an interfaith relationship.  We don’t squabble about where we celebrate various holidays because often only one of our families celebrates them.

Now, Thanksgiving, that’s one we have to share!  🙂 

Post # 13
Member
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

To a certain degree, things are pretty easy for us.  Typically, Thanksgiving is the most important holiday for my family.  We’re Jewish, so Christmas isn’t a factor, and ever since my Grandmother passed away around Thanksgiving, (way before I was born) my mom’s side of the family has always done Thanksgiving together.  Hanukkah isn’t a big deal for us, so if we are able to be with my family for it, we will be.  It makes it easy because that way we can always do Christmas with his family.  So far, the system seems to be working pretty well.  🙂

Post # 14
Member
866 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Disclaimer: I’m the product of an interfaith marriage AND I’m entering into one.

Many of you have commented that you experienced Chanukah as “only” lighting the candles and making latkes. Sorry to disappoint, but that’s pretty much all there really is to that holiday. Chanukah has been majorly over-hyped, supposedly to make Jewish kids feel less jealous when their Christian friends celebrate Christmas. The reality is that Chanukah is a minor holiday, and that while its story is pretty neat, it isn’t celebrated with the same intent as Christmas.

We handle the holidays as respectfully as possible, and we don’t try to make religious distinctions in terms of importance. We’ll attend services with our families or each other depending on which is most convenient.

The best advice I can give is this: never think of each holiday as “HIS” and “HERS”, because it can lead to defensiveness (i.e. why do we have to spend money on ____ Day when we never get to do that for _____). You’re a couple, you do things together now.

Attendance at various religious services is a topic for another post, but generally speaking we try to educate each other and do our best to respect the varied faiths of each other and our families. It’s sort of an A-for-effort mindset.

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