5 Reasons I Love Celebrating Both Christmas and Hanukkah

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas because my mom’s family is Catholic and my Dad’s family is Jewish. I was raised with an exposure to both religions that has given me great respect and admiration for both. Here are some reasons I appreciate both holidays!


1. Potato Latkes & Matzo Ball Soup

Photo Credit: Food Network

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is potato latkes and matzo ball soup. I think that everyone feels that their grandma makes the best potato latkes, but my grandma, truly, makes the best ones. Potato latkes actually weren’t invented until the 18th or 19th centuries in Europe, and originated in Italy, cheese being the primary ingredient. In the 18th and 19th century, mass amounts of potatoes were planted in Poland after the recipe from Italy spread there and they substituted the cheese with potatoes.


2. Early Presents

Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday that is traditionally celebrated during the holiday season. During Hanukkah, there are 8 candles on the menorah that represent 8 nights that the oil lasted for Jewish people when they only had enough oil for one night. Traditionally, you are given one present for each night of Hanukkah, which always falls before Christmas. When I was little, my parents would give me something that I got for Hanukkah on the first night of Hanukkah, which almost always falls before Christmas! So, there was always less of a Christmas countdown growing up.


3. Christmas Trees

Photo Credit: Good Housekeeping

In my house, we have both a Christmas tree and a Menorah. I think that having relics that represent both holidays helps me understand that both holidays represent me and the people that I come from. Every year, I look forward to decorating the Christmas tree in my house with my siblings; it’s one of my favorite ways to bond with them.


4. Menorahs

As previously stated, the Menorah is something that I also love about Hanukkah. I love the story of Hanukkah because there had only been enough oil to last for one day and the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. It is supplemented with “gelt” or chocolate, fun songs, and the dreidel song. Similarly, I have always loved lighting the candles with my siblings during the Holiday season. I like that Hannukah is a holiday that is celebrated with light and remembrance.


5. Ease of Family Coordination

It’s never been an issue deciding where to spend Christmas because my Dad’s family doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Similarly, only one of my Grandmas has ever hosted a Hanukkah dinner. I assume that coordination could get more difficult in families where everyone celebrates the same holidays, but we’ve never had that issue.


Overall, I love celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas because both holidays have a lot of history and significance as well as fun traditions. I’m really looking forward to celebrating them with my siblings over break!


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