I grew up in a household that was somewhere between reformed and orthodox. While that may seem an eclectic mix, in the broader world, it wasn’t: both my were parents Jewish, we all went to Hebrew school and some of us even day school. Needless to say, when it came to December holidays, it was Hanukkah pure and simple–no discussion of trees or bushes although I remember one year, I begged my parents for Christmas-type stockings–“NO.” I did hang an old pair of sweat socks on the mantle and filled it with my own store-bought candy. It was kind of fun but that has been my extent of Christmas involvement.
Last year, here at Challah Connection, we got some requests for items for interfaith families for their celebration of both Christmas and Hanukkah. I have to be honest, I was uncomfortable with the idea. But I came to realize that the truth in 2010 America is that many families are not like the one I grew up in or like the one I have (2 Jewish parents). We quickly got into gear and found some great products for these families. Why not? It brings joy and tradition to their holidays and that is the essence of Challah Connection.
This year, with the introduction of our first catalog, we dedicated one full page to “Chrismukkah,” a holiday best described as a melange of Hanukkah and Christmas traditions. The sales of these products have been astounding! It thrills us that we are providing ways for families to celebrate the holidays. (For any of you who disapprove of these products–and I know there are many–we feel that it is not our place to judge how people celebrate. We are helping people create lasting traditions and family memories, which is our mission.).
But wait…there’s more! Last month, I took a call from a loyal customer who told me that we were short changing our marketing efforts for “Chrismukkah” products. She told me that Jewish families also decorate their houses for Chanukah–not just interfaith or Christmas-celebrating famililes. I was a bit surprised by this given my own background. She explained that she grew up orthodox, her mother survived a concentration camp and that throughout her childhood, her house was filled with Hanukkah decorations. She went on to tell me that many of her Jewish friends also “decorate.” As I often do, I went to my own network of friends and asked about this “Hanukkah Decorating” phenomenon. Sure enough–lots of them do! She recommended some additional items to offer and introduced me to Christopher Radko, a company known for gorgeous blown glass ornaments and also told me about ornament stands. This was a whole new education for me! Last week, with all of the new merchandise in house, ready for a photo shoot I fell in love with the decorating tradition. I LOVE how all of these gorgeous ornaments look and look forward to having them hanging in my house throughout Hanukkah–maybe all through December! How about you–are you going to be “decorating?” Please leave a comment and let us know!!