Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. We’ll light the first of the candles and say the blessings, including one called The Shehecheyanu, which expresses thanks for letting us reach this season. This is a tradition in our home.

Our daughter is currently preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. It’s tentatively scheduled for next summer, but the service may need to be virtual and the party may need to wait, depending on how things are going with the pandemic by then.

Our daughter and I are Jewish. My wife is not, but she’s the one who insisted that we raise our daughter Jewish (she’s my mom’s favourite Jewish daughter). Thus, our daughter is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah.

We have traditions in our home that don’t align with all of that. We have traditions that are our’s.

Every year, after Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the U.S.), our daughter and I decorate our Christmas Tree. We always wait until after  Remembrance Day our of respect for veterans, including my late father-in-law. This is a tradition in our home.

Every year, since 2013 when I first saw these, I get an ornament that has three figures representing me, my wife, and our daughter. There have been three bears, three penguins, and three snowmen with our names on their hats. This year, I remembered that the store I frequently got them at closed after Christmas 2019 and I realized there would be no going to a craft fair either to get our 2020 ornament, but when I unpacked the boxes with the lights, shiny balls, and our various ornaments from years past, I found something I’d forgotten about. Knowing that the store was closing, I had planned ahead planned ahead and bought a 2020 ornament last year and packed it away. I unwrapped it and hung it with the others. This is a tradition in our home.

We’ll watch Christmas movies like Elf and Arthur Christmas (great British cartoon), my wife and I may briefly debate whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie (I say no). We’ll play dreidel. We’ll be together, but this year, unlike any years past, we’ll be staying home instead of visiting family.  

Some people, many people, may have a problem with our mix of traditions. I don’t really care. They’re our traditions. You have your’s and I hope you find them fulfilling. We have our’s and they help to make our home a warm and joyful place.  For us, and this is how it’s always been when I’ve spent Christmas with my wife’s family, it’s all about family. 

Enough people in the world don’t like my family because I have a wife instead of a husband. A lot of people don’t like that we have a Menorah and a Christmas tree. 

The world has a pandemic, hunger, poverty, climate change, racism, homophobia, transphobia, corruption, and many many more significant problems we need to be focused on. My family and our traditions shouldn’t be among them.

What traditions do you have around this time of year (my parents usually see a movie and go for Chinese food, but not this year)? Which ones can you continue? What new ones might you start?

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