The holidays can be tricky enough—but add in two different religious holidays in one household and you’ve just made things even more complicated. As a married couple, you may share everything, but sometimes couples don’t share religions. And that’s okay. What’s important is that your respect each other’s beliefs while forging a loving relationship. This is especially true as the holidays roll around.
So how do you handle the holidays as a couple when one of you is Jewish and the other is Christian? How do you make sure that all traditions and celebrations are equally shared?
The number one thing you need to do is communicate your thoughts and feelings to each other. You each may have your own expectations, and if they aren’t met then there can be hurt feelings and disappointment. So make sure to talk.
Here are some questions to ask each other:
How do you want to decorate?
Perhaps you both are satisfied with all of the decorations up at once. Just make sure to keep things balanced to where you are both happy. Typically Christmas has a big tree, lots of lights, and many other decorations; be sensitive toward your Jewish spouse and make sure not to drown out his or her special décor.
How do you want to celebrate?
Perhaps you want to keep each religious celebration separate, or maybe there are opportunities to combine some of the dinners or other get-togethers. For example, you could have traditional Christmas and Hanukkah food all in one, or you could do two separate celebrations. There is no set way to do it; just do what makes sense for your family.
What can we learn about each other’s beliefs?
The holidays is a great time of year to share what the other believes and perhaps even attend religious events together in an effort to better get to know the spouse’s religion. Go with an open mind and lovingly discuss the best parts of each religion with each other. You may be surprised just how many beliefs you share in common.
What sorts of gifts should we give each other, and when?
Gifts can be an outward expression of our love for each other. Spouses can take a lot of time and effort into giving the right gift. Make sure to discuss what sort of gifts are appropriate and when to give them. This will help the holidays run much more smoothly.