Christmas vs Chanukah by Claire

[advert:mpu]...And for heaven sake! It’s not as if the children actually need any more toys or games or videos or DVDs or stationery or ANYTHING actually! But I’m soft (in the head?) and I worry that the children would suffer emotionally if we didn’t stick to the annual routine!

Let me explain. My ex-husband is Jewish and I come from a Christian background so when the kids came along we decided to celebrate both festivals as they happen about the same time each year, (same with Easter and Pessach actually) although the date of the Jewish festival of Lights, or Chanukah as it is called in Hebrew, is lunar based so it changes from year to year, unlike Christmas which is fixed and, of course, happens every year on the 25th December.

So every year, on the First night of Chanukah, we traditionally get the in-laws round with their kids and we light the first of the eight candles on the Menorah (the special candle holder that is used for this celebration), read from the Prayer Book and we swap presents with each other. We follow the same routine for the next seven nights only without the in-laws and the kids get a gift every one of those nights.

And of course we do all this in the light of the Christmas tree with all its glitter and finery and shininess. And on Christmas Day the children wake up to a Christmas stocking by their beds and then downstairs next to the fireplace where Santa must have been because the mince pie and cup of squash (we don’t want Santa getting sozzled and falling down the chimney!) have gone and there in their place are three ENORMOUS sacks of prezzies!

This year however, things are different and we are no longer together but we have agreed to still do both festivals because that is what the kids know and are used to. Only this year, there is a change in faith! I’ve agreed to let him have the kids for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (they are still coming to my place for dinner – cooking in peace, a novelty indeed!) so he has all the mess and I get the lie-in. I will have to act as Santa though, and take the aforementioned filled stockings and sacks round to him once the new man and me have spent our Christmas Eve night wrapping them all up! And in return, I’ve agreed to have the in-laws round to mine as I have more space, for the first night of Chanukah and the traditional present swapping.

The only problem is finding more cupboard space for the toys they have already got, let alone new ones! Well at least now they have two homes, they can litter their father’s front room floor with the blooming things as well as mine! Ah well, at least some things never change…..

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