What it's like in a Jewish household on Christmas Day 5 years ago

What it's like in a Jewish household on Christmas Day

Growing up in a Jewish home, the Christmas period has always been a uniquely surreal time of year.

No two families are the same, so my experience undoubtedly differs from many others in a similar boat.

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It's not quite at Kyle Broflovski levels, but there's definitely a disassociation from a lot of the staples that many of my friends will consider part and parcel of late December.

Growing up, we would always celebrate Hanukkah - for those unfamiliar, it's an eight-day festival celebrated at some point in December (or occasionally late November. Jewish calendars are weird.)

That means eight separate presents. Oh, and plenty of fried food. Win-win, essentially.

However, if there was ever a time for having your cake and eating it too, this was it. So we do Christmas Day as a family too, and now that my brother and I have moved out of the family home it's superseded Hanukkah entirely.

No tree, though. We don't want to p*ss off God too much.

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There's something a little strange about a kosher adaptation of such a sausagemeat-heavy festival. Sure, not Love-Actually-lobster-in-nativity-play strange, but it's close.

If you thought "no cajun sausage for little Homer" was The Simpsons' most tragic moment, imagine an entire Christmas day with no pork, bacon, shellfish...you get the picture.

That means we improvise. Vegetarian stuffing, lamb merguez, mini toads-in-the-holes with chicken sausages.

If anything, it's better. No, wait, batter. It's batter.

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There's always this weird situation on Christmas Day in Jewish households where you're simultaneously more and less religious than usual.

My mum mentioned a friend of hers who only buys kosher chicken for the Christmas meal, when her more devout relatives are around, and isn't as fussy over the rest of the year.

The whole combination of keeping kosher at home and cheating on a day-to-day basis means we get the best of both worlds.

Leftover sandwiches on Boxing Day, presents and family on Christmas Day, bacon in January. What's not to like?

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There are also a handful of eccentricities which I'm pretty sure are unique to our family and nothing at all to do with religion. My brother's marzipan Christmas dinner, for example.

If you don't have one of these every year, then frankly I feel sorry for you.

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