Monday, December 22, 2014

Chanukah with the other side...

It's been almost five years of marriage and at least two years of dedicated dating, but this year was the first time that I had Chanukah with Working Dad's side of the family.

Now, it's not all their fault.  I own a cat.  A delightful, adorable little creature that I bought when I moved into my first apartment.  Unfortunately, my wonderful Sister-in-Law is allergic, so there goes any chance of hosting them at my house.  that's not to say she hasn't come to visit, because she has.  She just can't go inside.  And, as she'll remind me- technically I lit my chanukkiah at their house once- a long time ago, before I was Aunt Elizabeth.

This was the first time that the whole family gathered around and we had a get together that was almost specifically for Chanukah.  The reality is that it was for the boat parade in Newport beach, but since it was Chanukah, and not Christmas, we decided that it would be appropriate to celebrate together...

As you may know, Ocho is named so because she was the eighth grandchild born to my husband's parents.  Here's Ocho and the Niner, each with the special man in their lives... Daddy.  With so many kiddos running around we had to have lots of activities. I brought coloring cards (pottery barn a few years ago), and of course, we had dreidel to play.

My oldest niece H was ready to test out her dreidel skills.  She worked hard to win win win.  For Great Grandpa it was his first time playing, and I'm so blessed that he didn't really hesitate to get involved and try his hand at the game.  Imagine all of them trying to learn the letters to an alphabet they have no connection to- all in an attempt to win the most chocolate.

The evening was fun, if full of ironies...

But in so many ways it's events like this that make us the glorious family that we are.  That all our kids can enjoy each other and their holidays and appreciate the uniqueness that makes each family different.  But it's also hard.  EG didn't know who Santa Claus was. Normally, this might be a problem you would worry about, but in my case the rest of the family doesn't believe in Santa either, so it's not as difficult as it could be.

We lit the Chanukkiah (I was to busy lighting to grab a photo, but one will arrive when I get one from my Father-in-law), and sang some songs. 

How does your interfaith family share the holidays? Do you celebrate with each side together?  Do you go to theirs, do they come to yours?  I loved celebrating Chanukah with Working Dad's side this way.  For so many years we've gone to Christmas, but this year felt like the first time we are really sharing the holidays equally.  Even though the boat parade only featured Christmas.  Even though there were poinsettas decorating the tables, it felt like the whole family was gathering around us, warming to our traditions and allowing us to be part of the celebration.

And at the same time, it allows EG to have positive happy memories with Christmas. Of time with family, of connectedness and togetherness.  Of love and laughter, joy and peace.

Happy Holidays!


  1. WOW! It's so nice your WHOLE family of in laws were together to share. That EVERYONE was included. That no one felt left out. Because you know how that feels to be left out. You would never do that to someone else...

    1. That's interesting, because there were certainly people that belong to the other side of my husbands' family that weren't invited. His side includes around 32 first cousins, and this type of event can only accommodate so many. Not to mention those who live out of state, or out of the area.

      Of course, there were also people left out on my side. Ever since my mom has passed I've had my father over for dinner each and every Thursday. This event took place on a Thursday, and he wasn't there. So, did I leave him out? I'm not sure.

      The good thing is that everyone on my husbands' side (yup, absolutely EVERYONE), and on my side (yup, absolutely EVERYONE) had multiple different events that they COULD celebrate at. My husbands side has two Christmas celebrations coming up. And my Dad and my family had several opportunities to celebrate together on that side as well. So, everyone has the chance to be together for the holidays.

      It's hard to think about 'leaving someone out' because sometimes all I want is to include everyone. And sometimes they don't want to come.

      And, of course, if this were someone in my family, I hope that they would be forward enough to call me, e-mail me, or otherwise connect with me personally face-to-face. Rather than anonymously on my semi-anonymous blog...


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