Blogging NYT: A Holiday Medley, Off Key

Blogging NYT: A Holiday Medley, Off Key

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Carrie McBride
Dec 11, 2007
Holidays can be tricky and stressful for many families and especially for interfaith ones. Dubbed the December dilemma and wrought with competitiveness, alienation, disloyalty, and compromise, the questions of how to observe, celebrate, and even decorate for the holidays can be a contentious one. A recent New York Times article by Julie Scelfo, delves into the dilemma in several families. Many couples attempt celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas and decorate their homes likewise: “What can be seen from outside has to be completely 50-50,” says one Brooklyn mother. “If there are Christmas lights up, there have to be Hanukkah lights up too. I don’t want it to look outwardly like we’re more one than the other.”

Extended families, however, throw another wrench in the plans and often refuse to accept the compromise. One Maryland family puts up a tree every year, but only after the mother-in-law has visited so as not to offend her.

Another couple raising their son Jewish ostensibly agreed to still celebrate Christmas, but it’s done so begrudgingly by the Jewish partner who bristled when he heard their 3-year-old son singing a Christmas carol and was indignant when his Episcopalian partner put on a cd by Dianna Krall of Christmas standards. Read the full article to see how other interfaith families handle the holidays. Does any of this sound familiar to you? How does your interfaith family deal with the December dilemma? (Image by Lisa Adams for The New York Times)

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