The Festival of Light begins early in December this year. Although I celebrate Christmas, I keep track of Hanukkah because my mother’s family is Jewish. My dad’s family wasn’t, and my parents chose to raise my sister and me with Christmas trees and stockings and visits to the department store Santa.
My mother’s sister, Betty, celebrated Hanukkah with her husband and daughter, but they always visited our home for Christmas dinner. Aunt Betty hosted Thanksgiving, and that’s how the two sisters divided the holidays year after year, decade after decade.
When Hanukkah rolls around, I don’t think of menorahs and dreidels. Instead, when I call my Aunt Betty to wish her a happy holiday, I remember how much she and my mother, Carlyn, enjoyed each other’s company every Christmas.