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Christmas during Hanukkah can cause December Dilemma for Oklahoma familes

BY CARLA HINTON Published: December 20, 2008

photo - Barbie Greer, Jake Greer, 6, and Diane Barton light a menorah candle. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS. THE OKLAHOMAN
Barbie Greer, Jake Greer, 6, and Diane Barton light a menorah candle. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS. THE OKLAHOMAN

/> Barbie Greer, who is a member of Temple B’nai Israel, said she and her family celebrate both holidays by focusing on family togetherness and not necessarily religious meanings.

She said she and her husband and their children, Jake, 6, and Maddie, 3, will likely light the menorah at home but also at her mother’s home during Hanukkah. In addition, she said they intend to eat a meal of brisket and latkes at her mother’s home, as they do every year.

Latkes are potatoe pancakes traditionally eaten during Hanukkah.

Meanwhile, Greer said the family traditionally spends Christmas Eve at the home of Bill Greer’s mother, where they will order pizza. She said the family gathers again for Christmas Day lunch with Greer’s mother.

Greer said the children get Hanukkah and Christmas gifts.

And the Jewish and Christian in-laws often participate in the holiday traditions and gatherings of the other faith.

"My mother goes to Christmas lunch and Bill’s mother has come to the temple for some of our events. Both extended families celebrate both,” she said.

"Family is really important.”

Greer said she thinks that elementary and middle school children in interfaith families probably experience a real December dilemma.

At that age, she said, it may be difficult for Jewish children who are surrounded by fellow students who celebrate Christmas, but know little about Hanukkah. She said by high school, the students are at an age where they can share and better explain their faith traditions and experiences with others.

Did you know?
→The overlapping of Hanukkah and Christmas only happens every few years.

→The last time they converged was 2005, when Hanukkah started at sundown Christmas Day.

→In 2006, Hanukkah began Dec. 15 and the eight-day holiday was over by the time Christmas Day rolled around.

→Last year, Hanukkah started Dec. 4.

→The two December holidays won’t overlap again anytime soon: Hanukkah will begin Dec. 11 in 2009 and Dec. 1 in 2010.



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