Forget about knee-jerk liberalisms like saying ‘Happy holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’; this year’s all about embracing religion and amalgamating the best of God into one squishy festival. That’s right, I’m talking about Christmukkah, a holy union of Christmas and Hannukah celebrated by interfaith Christian and Jewish families worldwide. Here are blogger Natalie Harris’s best picks of the season to be merry…
Seven and nine-pronged candelabras – menorahs and hanukiahs – have been widely embraced by Christianity and are often found illuminating the windows of those of both faiths. Pop on down to Wimbledon on Saturday December 8 for the annual giant menorah lighting party on Tibbet’s Corner roundabout, where there’s live entertainment and chicken soup. You can also go see Boris Johnson trying his bumbling hand at lighting a giant match at ‘London’s brightest Menorah lighting’ in Trafalgar Square on Monday December 10.
Many Jewish families don’t have Christmas trees (a bone of contention that plagued me as a child), but you need not miss out on decking the halls. Stuff a few stockings with dreidels (spinning tops) and gamble on which side the dreidel will fall with pieces of Hannukah gelt (chocolate money). Or if a tree is a non-negotiable, why not tie up your traditions by topping it with a Star of David?
Attend the Lunch and Learn at the Jewish Museum with Maureen Kendler, BBC Radio broadcaster and Head of Educational Programming at the London School of Jewish Studies, and discover why this Hannukah is different from all other Hannukahs. My answer? Because it’s Christmukkah!
It must be a sin to go hungry at Christmukkah. One thing common to both peoples at this time of year is food… and plenty of it. Pop into Mishkins, a New York-style Covent Garden deli, for some potato latkes (an oily potato cake), or do the traditional pan-American Chinese takeaway instead of a roast on Christmas Day.
Celebrate with loved ones. Stuff your face. Party. Get drunk. Whatever your tradition, you can guarantee that Christmukkah has an answer for it. So lift up your cup, say Mazel Tov, and revel in the best of both worlds in interfaith London this Christmukkah. Natalie Harris