Hanukkah ends tonight. We’ve eaten approximately eleventy million latkes, and Harry has opened nearly as many gifts. (If you dread stinking up the joint with latkes one more time, maybe you’ll do like me and make crispity crunchity smashed potatoes instead.) My birthday was yesterday, and to celebrate I stuffed my face at Pok Pok—more on that another time. Now all that’s left for my interfaith family is to make it through Christmas.
This year, Harry’s jonesing for a tree ratcheted up to epic proportions. Since Thanksgiving, every time we walked past a vendor on the street he’d say something. First he flat-out asked, and I gently reminded him that we celebrate Hanukkah in our home but we’d have Christmas with his cousins. Later he tried subtlety: “I wonder what it would be like to have a Christmas tree?” When that didn’t work, he wheedled: “Pleeeeeeease can we get a tree? Pleeeeease, Mommy?”
I remember feeling that yearning as a kid—and I didn’t even grow up in an interfaith household. I just wanted the dang tree.
The New York Times ran a silly piece on the tree-or-no-tree dilemma today, nearly ignoring the quandary parents face this time of year. Before Harry came along, I embraced the tree wholeheartedly. But since his birth, I’ve insisted we’d be sending mixed signals to have one. This year, I’m reconsidering.*
If your family is interfaith, how do you handle it?
* Well, reconsidering might not be the right tense. That picture up there? It was taken this morning.