‘Twas a Chrismahanukkah to Remember

Let’s be real: It doesn’t get much better than Chrismahanukkah. The turkey. The ham. The brisket. Mashed potatoes. Potato latkes. It’s the life. The big fat, eat until you feel like you’re going to see the meals again and even the elastic on your sweatpants can’t stretch anymore, beautiful life. The whole day is bound to be one to remember. As my aunt said “On the eve of Kwanzaa, we celebrated Chirstmas and Hanukkah ‘Twas the night before Kwanzaa, when the Jews and the Christians celebrated Chrismahannukah.”

Some of the girls belted out Christmas carols as we played Rummikub, and the aspiring musical artist of the family, in all her nine years of wisdom, suggested we try out for the X-Factor. I said, “That would be great: three Jews, a half-Jew, and a Christian singing Christmas songs.” But that didn’t stop my Christian little step-sister and Jewish cousin from joining around the iPad in a beautiful duet of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.

From the organized chaos of opening presents to the strange animal calls from the kids’ table at dinner, Christmanahnukkah didn’t have a dull moment. There was the occasional teasing, but how can Dad resist when Uncle Sean is wearing a Barney colored sweater. There was a brief appearance by an FBI agent (AKA my six-year-old cousin with new Hanukkah toys). There was even a brief flashback into the seventies with old family photos.

On my third meal in six hours, I was starting to feel sick. But looking around at the crazy loud mess I call family, I felt grateful. These moments are the ones you want to hug like a teddy bear for the rest of your life and never let go. At the time, you may feel like you want to run out of the house screaming with your hands cupped over your ears, pretending you don’t know these people. But these are the best moments. They itch. They burn. They hurt. Then you look back at the pictures and you can’t think about anything other than how hard you laughed when Dad told Uncle Sean “Barney called and he wanted his sweater back.” You can feel the rush of excitement in the last intense seconds of a Rummikub match. The sound of your cousins running around on a sugar high is your new favorite song. These are the moments that matter.

As I scan my living room filled with family, all of my stress is released. SAT. ACT. AP. Suddenly they’re just letters. And nothing else matters. 
Step-Sister (Left) Cousin (Right): Christmas Duet