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Chrismukkah OrnamentOne of the presents I received at my family Chanukah party Saturday night was a book called Chrismukkah, a humorous guide to the make believe hybrid holiday. Last night, once we got Simon settled into bed, hauled in all our new loot, and broke down most of the packaging, I eagerly grabbed a cup of tea and some mandel bread and tucked into the book.

In the early going, I realized that while the book was tongue-in-cheek, this Chrismukkah thing was bigger and more serious than I realized. You can buy Chrismukkah cards, for example. The TV show The O.C. once aired a holiday episode called “The Best Chrismukkah Ever.” The word even appears in some dictionaries. Who knew?

I’m inclined to scoff. I mean, come on. Is this necessary? Is the solution to the so-called December dilemma really to send out cards featuring Santa lighting a menorah? Does anyone need a gingerbread house decorated with dreidels? Shouldn’t the Chanukkah bush remain a joke?

I was getting pretty worked up about this nonsense when I began to look around me. Tonight I curled up in bed with a blanket Evie gave Simon for Chanukkah, all the better to stay warm while enjoying my book, my Chanukkah menorah, and a Christmas-themed episode of WFPK’s Sunday Bluegrass. And last night I gave my nephew Nathan some double-sided origami paper and told him I’d keep him supplied if he’d make me some balls, stars, or cranes to put on my tree next year. I’m also seriously considering adding the books The Jolly Christmas Postman and Bear Stays up for Christmas to our ever growing library. If that’s not celebrating Chrismukkah, I don’t know what is. (And frankly, the silliness of Chrismukkah  is positively refreshing compared to the unbridled bitterness of all the December dilemma couples featured this weekend in the New York Times.)

On to the “ukkah” part of the holiday: Last night Simon had a bang-up time at his Bubbie’s house for her annual party. He had big smiles for everyone, he played in all the gift boxes, he happily gobbled up my apple sauce (but, alas, tossed the latkes), and he nearly ruined the dreidel game several times by reaching for the gelt in the middle. The evening was punctuated by baby smiles, baby giggles, and baby shrieks of delight.

Last year I was very happy when Simon had smiles for the party and was colic free for the big day. This year, there are simply no words for how much fun I had watching him fully engage in the party. If we keep this up, it will truly be the Best Chrismukkah Ever.

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