Happy, Merry Chrismukkah!

IMG_0052As a Cashew, I grew up with Christmas and Hanukkah, otherwise known as Chrismukkah. Yes, I was one of those lucky brats that was extra spoiled come December. Needless to say, it was also confusing about what exactly I was supposed to be celebrating. But I always knew that presents and good food were involved which was, and still is, good enough reason for me.

These days, I only celebrate Hanukkah but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Christmas. I love the lights, the scent of fresh pine, and the music. The Charlie Brown/Vince Gauraldi Christmas album does it for me every time. I decorate our home with blue, white, and silver but I like to throw a dash of Christmas in there to honor my Christmas past. We don’t get a tree, but I love having a fresh pine garland nestled on the mantle under the menorah. And of, course, we have to have our Hanukkah stockings hanging above the fireplace.  On Christmas Day, I fill them with little presents. Santa might not come to our house, but Hanukkah Harry pays a visit!

The Monkey will know Christmas since half of my family celebrates the holiday.  He will go to his grandma’s house on the 25th and open presents and sing carols. We will drive around to see the holiday lights and make a gingerbread house and Christmas cookies. Maybe we’ll even leave a few out for Harry. It’s the little things that I loved as a child during Christmas that I plan to incorporate into our own holiday traditions. Hanukkah, sprinkled with a touch of Christmas, will be something that I hope he looks forward to every December. Just like I do.

How do you celebrate the holidays? What type of traditions do you plan to pass on to your kids? Would love to hear from you.


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It's Hard Out Here For A Cashew

Yesterday was apparently National Cashew Day.

Yay!!! Finally!

It’s great to finally get some respect and recognition. Everyone else gets a parade and a holiday, so why can’t the Cashews?!?

From the early 1990′s, I called myself a Cashew. While I didn’t make up the slang term (or at least I don’t think I did), it’s been around for a while. Check Urban Dictionary if you don’t believe me. If you’re still puzzled, here’s the fuzzy math:

Catholic + Jew = Cashew

I know it doesn’t totally flow, but it worked. And I always thought it was kind of cute.

There are a lot of Cashews out there and the numbers just keep growing. There are also a lot of Pizza Bagels (Italian Jews), Jewbans (Cuban Jews), and Jewanese (Jewish Japanese). I’ve met quite a few varieties over the years and, I have to admit, it was (and still is) always nice to meet another one. It’s like a special club of some sort  Unless you’re mentioned in an Adam Sandler song, it’s hard to know who is half-Jewish. I mean, did you know Gwyneth Paltrow, Goldie Hawn, Harrison Ford, or Paul Newman was half-Jewish? How about Lenny Kravitz? Uh, nevermind. I wonder how many people call him when they’re really looking for Lenny Kravitz, the kosher butcher.

I often get asked, so what’s it like being a Cashew? OK, not really. But in case you’re curious, I’ll tell you anyways.

It’s really not a whole lot different than being “half” of anything else. Growing up, it was hard to know where I fit in. Sometimes I felt ostracized from one side or the other. I spent 12 years in Catholic school, but I never really felt comfortable going to church and confessing my adolescent  “sins” a few times a year. Sure, I was always glad when the priest let me off with a few Hail Marys for pinching my sister and calling my brother a name. My mother, however, was never that forgiving. (continues…)

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