Growing up, we always had a Christmas tree, even though we didn’t religiously celebrate Christmas. With a Catholic dad and a Jewish mom, I was raised Jewish, but we always celebrated Christmas (and Easter) in non-religious ways. I was, to many other children, what they called a “bothie.”
Yes, I got gifts for both Chanukah and Christmas, and yes, it was as awesome and spoiled as it sounds. Thanks Mom & Dad.
Now that I’m grown, married and have a house of my own, I wanted to have a tree – even though both my husband and I are Jewish. So why not a Chanukah tree? Chanukah is the festival of lights…
To me, having a tree was not a religious symbol, it was a family tradition I always looked forward to. I’m reminded of spending a whole night decorating the tree, dancing around, listening to Mariah Carey’s & Kenny G’s holiday albums. Yes, I said Kenny G. My dad would lift my sister and I up to place ornaments up high, while my mom would point where to put them. (I, like my mother, enjoy a even and esthetically pleasing ornament layout and of course a decor-matching color scheme…) We’d vacuum up the mess of faux tree needles (artificial tree) then my sister and I would lay with our heads underneath the tree, staring up at the shiny glass balls and colorful dancing lights.
When the tree was up, it was a symbol of the holiday season. And the holidays happened around the tree. Lighting the menorah, big family gatherings, making everything from latkes to marshmallow loaded hot chocolate – all had the pretty tree twinkling in the background. The tree wasn’t just for Christmas, it was about memories and tradition.
My Chanukah tree reminds me of time spent with my family, and gives me the same comforting feeling my Christmas tree gave me as a kid. I know that my husband and I will make new holiday memories near the Chanukah tree… even if there aren’t going to be presents underneath it on Christmas morning. Instead, on Christmas Day we’ll go to the movies and eat Chinese food. Cause that’s what Jews do on Christmas!
And just for the record, I have to say my Chanukah tree was an absolute STEAL! I bought it last February at Sears WITH all of the ornaments for just $35 during their 90% after holiday sale! (except for the Star of David & the driedel, those are from my childhood tree!)
My tree partied over at these link-ups! Check ’em out: