Hanukkah and Christmas are celebrated on the same days this year.  What’s an interfaith, divorced, or blended family to do?

First, talk to the other parent, current partner, or former partner.  In Judaism, Chanukah (variously spelled herein) is generally considered not as important a holiday as Passover, Yom Kippur, or Rosh Hashanah.  Think of the most important part of celebrating the holidays for you and your extended family.  Do you have a big family gathering on Christmas Eve and attend evening services? It may be fine for your interfaith family to light the candles and exchange presents early to celebrate Chanukah at sundown on the December 24th; then, head to Christmas Eve Christian services. Would it be possible to do your parenting time exchange on Christmas Eve later in the evening instead of an earlier time to allow the other parent to light candles and celebrate Chanukah? Are you able to reach a resolution where your children get to celebrate both holidays with as much love and family as possible?

Next, if you are divorced; then, check your agreement. If your attorney understood interfaith divorces like I do; then, your agreement addresses this issue and has a way to resolve any conflict.  Unfortunately, even many experienced family law attorneys do not think ahead about these conflicts as they do not occur that frequently.

Here is an example of language addressing this issue:

In the event of a co-occurrence of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or secular holidays on the same day; the parents shall endeavor to share the holiday and/or accommodate each parent’s observance with the children. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement; then, if one day of a multiple day holiday coincides with a single day holiday; then, the single day holiday shall take precedence.

For example, Hanukkah this year is observed for eight nights starting the night of Sunday, December 18, 2022 and ending the evening of Monday, December 26, 2022.  Therefore, with the above language, the parent celebrating Christmas would have the children for the single day holiday of Christmas and the parent celebrating Chanukah would have the children for the other multiple days of Hanukkah.

For my interfaith divorced family, Chrismukkah for my children will look like this this year. Since my ex-husband and I celebrate both the Jewish holidays and the Christian holidays with our children. Our children are with Dad for December 18th-21st for Hanukkah and with Mom for Hanukkah and Christmas from December 22nd through the 25th at 2pm. Then, Dad gets the boys Christmas afternoon, December 25th at 2pm, until December 26th.

If you are unable to agree; then, contact your attorney sooner rather than later as many courts are still recovering from COVID backlogs and many judges do not consider holiday scheduling issues as emergencies requiring priority scheduling.