Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Celebrating Christmas for Jewish Girls : A Guide (Part III)

It is finally time to start talking about Christmas!!! Can you tell how excited I am? 

Neill and I celebrate Christmas with his family in West Virginia and it is always a great time. And you know what I've learned? Celebrating Christmas is a whole lot like celebrating Chanukah -- except with more candy. Yes, there are the obvious differences, but both of our family holiday traditions surround spending time with family, eating good food, and exchanging gifts. Hopefully, you don't need a guide to tell you how to do those things!

One thing that is different about Christmas it that there are so many more decorations. With Chanukah, all you need is a menorah and you are set. With Christmas, you've got stockings, wreaths, poinsettias, garlands, and Christmas lights--and that is in addition to a Christmas tree. We've never had even a hint of Christmas in our condo. Since we are always out of town for the holiday, it just seemed . . . unnecessary. 

But, this year--for the first time ever--I wanted to bring some Christmas into our home. I can't stress enough how absolutely wonderful Neill was this Chanukah. He set up the menorah, learned the prayers, helped make latkes, and lit the candles with me every night. It felt so good to have him be an active participant in the holiday that I wanted to do the same for him! If a Christian can celebrate Chanukah like a pro, I see no reason why a Jew can't celebrate Christmas!

See, in the past we've approached Chanukah like it was my holiday and Christmas like it was his holiday. I was in charge of all things Chanukah and he was in charge of Christmas. This year, however, our approach shifted. Chanukah was our holiday and I want to make Christmas our holiday too. I'm looking forward to celebrating Christmas in West Virginia with my in-laws for years to come, but that doesn't mean we can't bring some of the Christmas joy into our home! 

So I present to you everything you need to know about how to make your house look like one big Christmas party. For someone who has spent her whole life trying to ignore all things Christmas, it was quite a change to actually have to think about this stuff! There are so many decisions to be made, so many color schemes to choose from. I decided to keep things classic and stick with red, green, and white. I hope you enjoy! 
This is how Christmas dumb I am - I found myself googling phrases like "Where do you buy a Christmas wreath?" and "How to hang a wreath." And you know what I found out? They make products for that - wreath hangers! Who knew? But, you know what I like even better? This idea -- hang a wreath on each side of the door and use a pretty piece of ribbon to hold them both up (with the middle of the ribbon going on the top of the door and each end wrapped around a wreath). Here are the two I picked - both are variations on my red, white, and green color scheme.
Ornament Wreath

Berry Wreath

I was so excited when Neill's mom made me my own stocking the first year I celebrated Christmas with them. I want us to have stockings to hang on our fireplace too! I really like these simple white stockings from Garnett Hill.


+Stocking Holders
Oh my oh my oh my. Stocking holders might be by new favorite accessory! There are so many fun ones -- I just couldn't pick between these three.   

JOY stocking holder

Gift Box Stocking Holder

Reindeer Stocking Holder

+A Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is probably the most iconic symbol of Christmas, however, with our small condo it isn't very practical. But do you know what is totally doable? An ornament tree! I don't know if I've just been living under a rock or what, but I've actually never heard of one of these. But, it just seems like the perfect way to get some glittery ornament goodness without having a tree. Here are three I've found:

Ornament Tree
Ornament Tree

Ornament Tree

I've never paid much attention to ornaments. So, I was surprised to see just how beautiful some ornaments are. But why oh why do I always fall in love with the most expensive accessories? These Waterford ornaments are just gorgeous.
crosshaven ornament
garland ornament

I think we'll need about twelve ornaments to fill our ornament tree. And since the ornaments are truly the focus of the ornament trees, I felt a little pressure to find the perfect combination. I love the folksy swirls of these first two ornament designs! To keep them the center of attention, I'll fill the rest of the stand with solid green, red, and white ornaments of varying size (all ornaments from c&b). 

Swedish Cookie Ornaments

Folk Swirl Ornaments

White Ornaments

Red Ornaments

Green Ornaments

Whew! Now that is a lot of Christmas sparkle!

I feel lucky to be in an interfaith relationship. I truly believe I'm getting the best of both worlds. Not only do we get extra time to soak up the holiday goodness, but I think both of our lives are enriched by the new holidays and traditions we've been exposed to. While how we manage our faiths is bound to change over the years, for now we've found a happy combination that works for us--two parts latkes, one part Christmas ham, and one part chocolate covered marshmallow Santas.

Psss. Read Part I and Part II

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