A Jewish Mom’s Dilemma: Does Hanukkah Have to Compete with Christmas?

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Summary: I’m not the first Jewish parent to face this conundrum. How do I make sure that my young son’s fascination with the Christmas spectacle doesn’t diminish his enthusiasm for his family’s religion? In a Dec. 18, 2011 column for The Boston Globe Magazine, I write about dealing with this dilemma and attempting to keep Hanukkah, a minor Jewish holiday, in its proper perspective.

Reaction: The article drew more than a dozen reader letters and prompted discussion as well on the Globe’s website. It … Continue reading

Jewish Toddler’s Santa Encounter at Hanukkah: Is this parental faux pas?

>Our almost 3-year-old son met Santa Claus for the first time last week during Hanukkah. He loves live music so we took him to a local holiday pops concert as a Hanukkah present. Santa showed up to lead Jingle Bells and other holiday – well, Christmas – tunes. It looked and sounded like Christmas everywhere we went.

Egads. Have we committed a Hanukkah faux pas with our child? I don’t think so. It presents challenges, but it’s okay for a Jewish child to brush elbows with Santa Claus, a figure important in the lives of many of our friends. It’s not a holiday Jews celebrate, but Christmas is a big presence in America. Still, it is a challenge to figure out the best way to explain Christmas trappings to a child just starting to develop a Jewish identity. Continue reading