The holiday season is always difficult in my household due to the fact that my mom is Christian and my dad is Jewish. This year is the epitome of the battle between my two halves as Christmas Eve is also the first night of Hanukkah.

Christmas Eve

Smoked Salmon on Rye

Girl Interrupted Eating on Flickr

My mother is Polish which means Christmas Eve contains a large feast called the Wigilia. Since there are only four people in my house, we tend to just serve the hors d'oeuvres, smoked salmon and trout with rye bread, perogies, and a lot of homemade cookies. Normally dessert in a traditional Wigilia include poppyseed and almond cakes, but we save those for breakfast the next morning.

Perogies the finished product

CKGolf on Flickr



Meg Stewart on Flickr

As for Hanukkah, the first night of the eight day holiday is the biggest feast and includes extra prayers. Cooking for Hanukkah dinner takes all day, slowly cooking the brisket in the oven for hours, letting the shredded potatoes and onions dry out a bit in paper towels to get the perfect fried latkes. The night ends with chocolate coins, rugelach, and jelly donuts. 

Rugelach recipe baking chocolate apricot 3

Le living and co. on Flickr

You can probably see the challenge of serving these two very important holiday meals on the same night. It's easy to blow off Hanukkah dinner since there are six other nights that don't conflict with Christmas, but I feel that would give into the intense focus on Christmas which engulfs this entire month. My fully Jewish cousins often feel left out as their house is the only one on their block not decorated and every commercial is about Christmas gifts (the tradition of giving presents at Hanukkah came from kids feeling left out during the Christmas season).

My family has chosen to reconcile our multi-religion household by featuring smaller versions of both dinners. While I am disappointed to miss out on my mom's amazing homemade brisket, I am happy to see the two halves of my life are not at odds with each other too much.