Holidays in an interfaith relationship can definitely be difficult, yet so much fun. With Hannukah on its fifth night and Christmas just around the corner, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed by the holiday stress. When I say I understand your pain, I understand your pain. With me being Jewish and my boyfriend being Catholic, it can get a bit difficult to see eye to eye on some religious aspects. However, nothing is more fun for us than embracing each other’s holidays and traditions!
Growing up, I always envied those who got to celebrate Christmas. I was never allowed to have a tree at home, but the lights of the Hannukiah’s always made me feel like winter was alive. When I moved out and met my partner, I knew that I would be able to bring both our traditions into one household.
While decorations and gift giving is the fun part of the holidays, it’s also important to remember that holidays in an interfaith relationship mean so much more. Remember that traditions fall into this category too. During our first Hannukah and Christmas together, my boyfriend asked if I could teach him about Hannukah and was interested in celebrating it with me just the way my family always did. There truly was no better feeling.
Here are my top tips on celebrating the holidays with your significant other who safe to say, grew up far different than you:
1. Teach each other about your interfaith beliefs
There is nothing more fun about embracing both religions! Every year, both my boyfriend and I talk about the stories of both Christmas and Hannukah as a refresher. I absolutely love learning about his religious beliefs, and vice versa. Make it a point to listen and make your partner feel heard. While you may not believe in what they do, it’s important to validate their beliefs and make each other feel as included as possible!
2. intertwine old family Traditions with your own! (That’s what Holidays in an interfaith relationship is all about)
This is so important! Embracing each other’s special traditions are what truly make the holidays. Try and incorporate old family traditions from both sides in your holiday celebrations, all while creating your own.
This seems so generic, but the way we celebrate holidays are all so different. I grew up in a Persian Jewish household, so my Hannukah’s definitely looked a bit different than the average Jew. Food plays a huge role! I remember one year, I made a brisket on the first night of Hannukah. My family never made brisket, so it was fun to create a new tradition I can carry on for years to come.
3. Make it a point to keep it festive for you both in your living environment
This could entail pretty much anything! Around my apartment, I have tons of Christmas and Hannukah decorations to keep both our religions alive.
On our Christmas tree, we have this super fun inter religious ornament incorporating both of us!
Bonus: My tips for gifts
Holidays in an interfaith relationship can be expensive! I personally have always felt a bit crazy about gift giving. There is nothing that makes me feel happier than giving, but it can be crazy expensive. What I’ve done every year is gift my boyfriend his major gift on Christmas (since that’s his holiday) and give him a small present during Hannukah. Establish those boundaries with each other, and formulate a plan so that you both gift each other within your budgets and what you believe is appropriate.
While these tips currently ring during the holiday season, they certainly can follow you throughout the year. There are tons of holidays to be embraced and celebrated, and it’s so important to make each other feel cherished during those times.
Speaking of fun holiday traditions, have you read our Christmas Holiday Movie List?