Blended Holidays for Blended Families

Growing up, Christmas Day wasn’t the most important day for me. My family did have a small artificial Christmas tree, a few decorations here and there and Christmas lights; but the majority of my memories on December 25th are calm, quiet and peaceful. I’ve only very recently learned that is not typical.

Here’s the thing. My mom was raised Jewish, my dad was raised Protestant and both are atheists. My brother is actually my half-brother from my mom’s first marriage, so we have different dads but the same mom (btw I never actually refer to him as my half-brother). My brother’s dad and his new family celebrate Christmas together, especially because my brother’s step brother’s birthday is on Christmas eve. Confused yet? If you’re from a blended family you can probably follow the family tree. If not, just trust me that it all makes sense.

Anyway, the majority of my Christmases were spent with my mom, my dad, occasionally my grandparents and maybe a cousin or two. But over all they were quiet. However, I grew up celebrating something that nobody else got, something that was entirely unique to my family. In order to have the whole family together for a Christmas-like occasion, my parents invented the blended holiday of Chanamas.

Before you ask, Chanamas is NOT Chrismukkah. Chanamas has been around for at least a decade longer than The O.C., and does not involve santa hat yamakas. Chanamas is a lot like Christmas, it’s just not celebrated on Christmas Day, which makes it awesome. So, when I was a kid/teenager, a few days before Christmas, I would wake up at 5 a.m. on Chanamas morning, try and fail to wake up my older brother, run downstairs, dump the contents of my stocking on the floor and begin gorging on chocolate – while impatiently waiting for the rest of my family to wake up so we could open presents.

My parents invented Chanamas so that we could all spend the holidays together, without making my brother feel like he had to choose where to celebrate on Christmas Eve/Day. It’s a ritual that’s worked really well for over 27 years. We still celebrate Chanamas on a day that is convenient for all of the busy members of my family and it staggers the holidays really nicely.

Chanamas didn’t lack any of the magic of the season either. My brother and I would get presents from Santa (we were told he made a special visit to our house on that day) and Uncle Chniuk (a Jewish Santa-like character that my grandfather invented).

I’m not a religious person. While I appreciate some of the Jewish and Christian traditions I’ve grown up with (e.g. latkes, menorahs, decorations and presents), I don’t hold any spiritual connections to the holidays. But the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays if they weren’t spent with family, something that I think most people can agree on, no matter what they celebrate.

One thought on “Blended Holidays for Blended Families

  1. Dear Rachel,

    Hi !

    Please don’t think if Christmas is not being celebrated with lot of happiness because of your past history. Lord Jesus has a very good plan for your intelligence,and for people like you. Please Pray to Lord Jesus with all your heart and soul and see the results which you get for yourself. I hope the coming Christmas of 2016 you will definitely see the change. The Inspiration and The Spirit of God shall always be with you. The Golden Aura of The Almighty Lord shall Prevail continuously in your life for ever. You will definitely enjoy the Christmas Mid-night Mass and the Next morning Mass if only you allow Lord Jesus to be in your heart forever.

    You are already under the influence of Cosmic Power of God because your Blogs are Honest and you Accept the Truth with Honesty with a true Confession. These are Quiet Thoughts which I have learnt in the MORAL REARMAMENT CENTRE which is called M R A. I have attended conferences here in India.

    MRA International Head Quarter is in CAUX, Switzerland. If you have a MRA centre at your place then please attend the seminars. Please attend the Summer Holidays or the other Holiday Seminar / Conference for families. This Conference is mostly for a week or 15 days. You will definitely get to know that you already possess the qualities which God has Granted to you.

    I think I have given a very big long Lecture. I hope it is not irritating for you.

    After reading your few Blogs I noticed your Honesty of presentation of Blogs and your family short history. That is why I just had a thought of writing to you my views. I apologise if I have hurt your feelings without knowing anything about me much. We both are unknown to each other, but your blogs have made me to present my views.

    Thank you.



    This Christmas Song of for you and your family.

    Bye !


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