Happy Everything!!

If you’ve been reading along with us for awhile, you may have noticed Sarah posting Santa pics and hosting Gingerbread House parties while I’m sharing Rosh Hashanah gift ideas and fun Chanukah traditions.  Say Whattttt?!?!?!?  Y’all thought we were cousins, right?!?  Here’s the scoop…

Our dad’s are brothers…not Jewish.  My mom is Jewish.  And that’s that.

I grew up in a Jewish house.  Sarah didn’t.  Her family moved to New Orleans when we were in high school.  And from that time on, we all celebrated together.  I was old enough at that point to know I was Jewish and what that meant.  I knew when we were at Sarah’s house on Christmas Eve, we were celebrating their holiday with them.  Santa wasn’t coming to see me and my sister…ha!  We were eating a great meal, we were listening to Carole King Christmas, we were dressed up, but it wasn’t our holiday, it was their’s.

Now that we have our own families, the shared traditions continue.  Today we want to share with you all how we make it through the holidays celebrating it ALL!  I wish I could tell you that it’s deep and thought out, but it’s not.  It’s just instinctive.  Acceptance, love, and happiness.  Sounds silly as I type it, but these are the values I want to instill in my kids regarding everything in life, so it easily overflows into our religious celebrations.

How I do it ::

My kids go to a Jewish school, we live on a block where half the residents are Jewish, almost all of our Jewish cousins and grandparents {all with strong Jewish values} are in our lives every week.  It’s tricky for me over here, y’all.  And really, my feelings on the issue have evolved over the last 5 years.  In the beginning, I was worried about the mixed messages.  Sarah’s dad is a BIGGGG gift giver.  When the girls turned 3, I remember thinking I didn’t want him bringing gifts for them anymore.  I didn’t want them thinking this was “our” holiday.   Last year though, as Christmas was approaching, I realized that Laine and Olivia were old enough to understand what they needed to understand, and I just rolled with it.  All I had to say was – Maggie has Christmas at her house, and we have Chanukah.  Santa goes to Maggie’s house because he goes to houses that have Christmas.  We’re going to light the Menorah at our house and open presents every night for 8 nights and eat latkes and play dreidel! Maggie and Baby Jack can come over and do all of these things with us.  And when Christmas day comes, we’ll go to Uncle Jack’s, because you know he’s going to have something over the top wrapped up! Best of both worlds, and most importantly, we’re spending special days with our most special people.

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And as it stands now, that’s enough.  I know that every year they’ll understand more, they’ll have more questions, and new issues will arise.  For now, the basics of acceptance, love, and happiness are getting us by! {And yes, Sarah and I have already discussed the big “Santa” secret, we’re just going to see how that one plays out!}

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Oh HI! Sarah here – How I do it ::

Obviously, Jessica is my Mom idol, especially when she says things that sing to my heart like “acceptance, love, and happiness” are how we get by! And I couldn’t agree more! Celebrating and tolerating the differences in people in whatever capacity those differences come in, is a huge part of what we are striving to ingrain in our children. I am excited and lucky that my kids get to experience different holidays…and even better, get to do it at their cousins’ house!

Maggie is enthralled with Laine and Livy right now, a day doesn’t go by that we don’t talk about them in some capacity. I used this obsession to bring up the fact that they have Chanukah and not Christmas, just plant a little bug. Chanukah, and  more importantly all the Jewish holidays, have a special meaning to Jessica and her family, and I want my kids to understand and support that. We talked a little about lighting the Menorah and that Santa doesn’t visit their house. I know she doesn’t get it AT ALL, but she sure keeps asking when is it time for Laine and Livy’s HhhanKAaahhh. And last year when it was time to sing all the songs that went with lighting the Menorah – she surely pretended she knew the words! It’s fun now. I’m sure little minds will think up some hard questions before they have the capacity to fully understand, but that’s okay – we’re all in this together. And I’m sure Jessica will think of some creative way to explain everything, and I’ll just have my kids pick up that iphone that Santa {or Pappy} got them and give her a call!

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Jessica and Sarah are tandem bloggers and self-dubbed ‘sister-cousins’ because sometimes the lines get blurred, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Both New Orleans natives, these cousins transplanted to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and have never looked back. Jessica is the mother of twin girls, Laine and Olivia {March 2010}, and a sweet and curious one year old boy, Owen {Jan 2013}. Sarah is mom to Maggie {Aug 2011}, who keeps her on her toes, and the most adorable little brother, Jack {Nov 2013}! By day, Jessica is a stay at home mom, and Sarah works on the financial and managerial end of the healthcare industry. By naps, lunch breaks, and nights, they run an adorable children’s clothing company called The Little Crane Smocked Shoppe. Follow these two, their families, and their adventures in small business ownership on their blog…and don’t forget to show them some love at their shop too!

2 COMMENTS

  1. As a 5 year old living on Apollo Drive, my only care in the world was how could I spend more time with Jessica. We put up a Christmas tree at my house, and you put up a Menorah. I remember my parents telling me that people celebrated God differently. Families had different traditions. No one is better or worse, just different. I think at 5, that was all I needed. All that mattered to me was we both got new toys to play with together. I think this philosophy has stuck with me as an adult. Celebrate the differences in religions and look for commons areas. Happy Chaunukah and Merry Christmas to you both!

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