• Wed, Dec 18 - 3:00 pm ET

I Don’t Want My Stepkids Having Their Christmas Traditions In My Jewish Household

144905254I’m having an internal struggle around allowing my stepchildren to continue with their Christmas traditions in my Jewish household.

This year, on December 25th, my entire blended family will be together. And this is what concerns me. My stepchildren have always celebrated Christmas, including decorating trees, staying in their pajamas all day, getting presents from all relatives, opening stockings, and listening to Christmas carols. But I’m Jewish.

My daughter has been raised Jewish and my son – my stepchildren’s brother – will also be raised in the Jewish faith. We certainly don’t have a wreath on the door and Santa does not get cookies and milk (Sorry Santa, but really, how many cookies and glasses of milk do you need?)

So now I have two Jewish children, who celebrate Jewish holidays, and two children who celebrate Christian holidays. I’m not a believer in Christmakah, meaning I don’t really like the idea of getting a tree, or hanging stockings on my fireplace, simply because it could look lovely and be in fact a lovely time. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a Christmas-hater. Christmas trees can be beautiful. The idea of family hanging around together in their pajamas all day sounds wonderful. Seeing children opening gifts, with so much excitement, can be so heartwarming.

I have no reason, really, to not celebrate Christmas, even a little, except for the fact that I’m Jewish and am a firm believer in my religion. That’s my only reason. And I think my stepchildren should know that at my home we don’t do Christmas (or Easter for that matter.) I sound like such a Grinch! But I’m not.

We celebrated Hanukkah at our house, with a party, where the kids did get a lot of presents and cash. They ate latkes and played with dreidels and lit the Menorah every night. They had a great time, even if they had no idea what the meaning of lighting a menorah means.

But now as Christmas fast approaches, I can’t help but think, “Am I responsible for keeping up with their traditions?” If I do, whether it’s buying them presents, or getting a tree and decorating it, how then would I explain this to my daughter? And, will I be setting up a new tradition, which I don’t believe in, with my son?

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Roberta

    Are your stepdaughters aware of how dismissive of their faith you are? I get it, you want to celebrate your Jewish faith. But you are basically saying that they are not allowed to be Christian in your house (“your” in the plural, since it is their house too), because it is an inconvenience to you. That is tinsel-covered bull.

    Here is a crazy idea. Talk to your step-kids. Form a compromise if need be. Or ultimately send them to their mother’s to celebrate Christmas. They are teenagers with opinions and are your family. At least respect that their faith is a part of them.

    • Mel

      I’m not clear on how she’s trying to stop them from being christian. Not putting up a tree and not buying stuff somehow negates their personal faith? I would hope their beliefs aren’t tied to pagan traditions masked as christian. If so, that’s a deeper conversation they should have with their pastor/priest.

    • Roberta

      While I respect that decorating trees in houses has been a pagan ritual for way longer than it has been a Christian one, Christians have been decorating trees for a few centuries now. It is no big secret that Christmas trees started as Pagan and were adopted/plagiarized (depends who you talk to) by Christians. But to her step-kids, as far as her articles show, a big part of being Christian, like for many of us, is to put up a tree and do those traditions.

      Would it work the other way around? If her Jewish children were not allowed to celebrate Hanukkah with a menorah, traditional food, or anything material, would that fly? I doubt it.

    • Mel

      Well, just like most people here are saying that she should mold her household to match the step kids’ beliefs, I assume they mean that the bio mom would have to change her policy to match that of her step kids. It’s just so convoluted and risky, I think each house should honor the tradition of the respective parents and the kids will be just fine.

    • elle

      Well I don’t really think Ecklers kids are spending any time at their step/half sisters other house. The girls bio mom doesn’t have to worry about Ecklers kids…..

    • Roberta

      I don’t know, I just have this optimism that families will be able to blend and create their own traditions that can make everyone happy.

      I blame Lifetime movies for giving me this hope of everyone getting along.

    • Mel

      I come from divorce and step families and I can tell you it’s just not how it works for everyone. Peace and co existence is a win in situations like this. It doesn’t sound like anyone is trying to deprive anyone of their beliefs or religion. The step kids are perfectly able to worship or pray or believe to their heart’s content, and that doesn’t require pagan decorations or commercial gifts.

    • Roberta

      “The step kids are perfectly able to worship or pray or believe to their heart’s content, and that doesn’t require pagan decorations or commercial gifts.” That I disagree. Ms. Eckler has made it very clear that Christmas is not welcome in her home.

    • Mel

      It may very well be that the message is that christmas isn’t welcome. I don’t know, not being actually in the room. My argument is that the kids don’t need anyone’s permission to pray or feel or believe whatever they want. Similar to prayer in school. Just because it’s not sanctioned, doesn’t mean anyone isn’t allowed to think/feel/believe/pray whatever they want.

    • Roberta

      I think I see where we differ. Can they believe and pray as much as they please? Absolutely, and no one can tell them otherwise. But part of the Christian tradition is these material and external, rituals around Christmas time. Telling them that they will not be allowed to celebrate anything other than in prayers or whatnot, in a house that is supposed to be their own as well, is what curdles my egg nog.

    • Mel

      Even though I disagree with the importance that they are given, I do get that it is the way it is, and the denial of those external things that go along with christmas might make the step kids feel invalidated. That’s fair, especially since they’re kids and therefore tend to see things from their own narrow points of view. That’s just part of being a kid. I think an honest and clear conversation really might be the solution. It’s good for the kids to start learning that not everything is going to go their way, and it’s good for Rebecca to start getting used to the step kids carrying a lot of weight in the decision making from here on out.

    • Roberta

      Thus concludes this weeks therapy session. Anyone want a Christmas cookie? The secret is the gelt chocolate coins in them :P

    • Mel

      Cookies it is! Have a great night :)

    • Simone

      Christmas is hardly about religion though, is it? Jesus was apparently born in February anyway. Christmas is about consumerism, greed and ostentatious wealth display for 90% of those who engage in it.

    • JLH1986

      I’m curious if the kids asked to bring a small Christmas tree to put in their shared room, what her response would be? She seems adamantly anti Christmas, which is fine she’s Jewish, but the tone of her post suggests that she in fact wouldn’t be ok with her step kids exerting their faith or the demonstrative aspects (trees etc.) of their faith in “her” home. I guess what gets me is 1-how after years of being together is this suddenly an issue; 2-if it’s truly causing some sort of internal strife maybe discussing with bio mom a switch would be in order 3-she doesn’t come across as particularly respectful of her stepdaughters feelings/thoughts and that could be an issue down the line if their Christianity is important to them. And where the heck is dad? He was/is married to their mom, I’m sure they had something worked out when they still lived together, I’m sure he has some input.

    • Mel

      I think the tree in their room is a really decent idea.

    • JLH1986

      I think it could be a compromise, the girls could decorate and do all that but it wouldn’t be something Rebecca and her children would have to participate in. It’s not something I would mind, but I’m agnostic, not semi-devoutly another religion.

    • Mel

      As long as it’s not like giving a mouse a cookie and leading to presents and lights and carols and other things that will make it inappropriate for Rebecca’s bio kids as well as herself.

    • rebeca eckler

      If the kids really really wanted a tree in their room, then of course I would let them. But they have never asked or mentioned it, and had a wonderful time celebrating Hunukkah! They are 12 and 14 and know about different religions. The menorah sort of took over the excitement of the tree. Happy Holidays and thanks for your input!

    • Mel

      I don’t doubt that you would honor their wish if they wanted a tree. I’ve been advocating for going with your wishes to celebrate your holiday in your house according to your traditions. I’m sure it’s a tricky subject, and I don’t envy your position, but I believe it will turn out fine for everyone. Hope it goes great!

    • drinkpepsi

      Because it is not Rebecca’s house. The step-kids supposedly live there half the time. If they live there half the time, it really should be considered their home too.

      Can you imagine celebrating Christmas every year for 13 years and then suddenly having your evil step-mother pull the plug on Christmas?

      Becca…you chose to have two kids with two different baby daddies.
      You chose to get involved with a married man who already had two children. Children who were being raised Christian.

      Yes, it is going to be messy. You made messy choices.
      Deal with it.

      If your precious biological kids are confused, tell them to make better choices when they become adults.

    • Mel

      It’s not Rebecca’s house? When did the existence of children become the deciding factor on how every single thing should happen? These kids, like all kids, are gonna realize that they are not the geographic center of the universe. This isn’t exactly a case of abuse or neglect or harm in any sense. When I go to other people’s homes, I don’t expect or require them to conform to my lifestyle or beliefs.

    • Gangle

      The difference is that when you visit other peoples homes, you are a guest. These are children that belong to the family. They are not guests, it is their family and home. They did not *choose* to be brought up Christian. They did not *choose* to be part of a blended, multi-religious family. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it does mean that each person in that family deserves their religious beliefs and festivals to be respected and honoured.

    • drinkpepsi

      No.

      It is not *just* Rebecca’s house. Her fiance/baby daddy lives there too and he has 50/50 custody of his two children. So the kids live there half-time. Do you think it’s right to call it “Rebecca’s house”?

      It makes zero sense why the girls would be with their dad and his girlfriend on Christmas Day if Christmas is not important/ignored by dad and Eckler.

      The girls should be with their mother – who will no doubt have a traditional Christmas morning for them and make them feel loved.

      Can’t believe this guy chose to get involved with a woman who has so much disdain for his children.

  • Jane Boolittle

    Good job forcing religion on your stepkids. They celebrate Christmas. You don’t want to accept that, then don’t have them over for Christmas. Period. How would you like it if your Jewish children were going over to the house of a Christian family over Hanukkah and were told they would have to “keep Hanukkah in their hearts, we don’t celebrate that holiday here.” Real nice lady.

  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    Reading this and all these comments really makes me think us atheists and agnostics have the best Christmas attitude. It’s about family and presents. What is wrong with family and presents?! They aren’t expecting a biblical reading or even a church service, are they? And if they are, that is ONE day out of 365. If my heathen ass can schlep to church to make my religious adoptive mom happy, so can anyone! Aren’t blended family kids meant to get double the awesome December holidays? Show them Hannukah and let them show your kids Christmas. Jeeeepers.

  • MERKIN

    Oh Eckler…writing articles that are purposely inflammatory just to get clicks. Knew it was her just from the title

  • footnotegirl

    No.
    No no no no no.
    I’m an atheist, and not a big fan of the christian privilege in this country, and even I’m gonna put a foot down here and say you are wrong. You do NOT take a religious holiday away from children or from anyone just because they are in your house during it.
    Yes, it’s going to be difficult to explain to your own children that their step siblings have a different religion that has different celebrations that you don’t share BUT THAT YOU RESPECT. Guess what. Life is complex, and part of being a parent is pulling on your big girl panties and explaining difficult things to your children.
    Would you be okay with your kids visiting someone and being told they must eat pork because “in this household, we don’t follow Jewish beliefs”?
    Enter into it with the spirit of “lets learn new things and find out how different people live and celebrate different things that are important to them. We may not celebrate or believe in the same things, but we can be happy for them and help them enjoy their celebrations.’
    TL:DR You are a bad person, and you should feel bad about yourself.

    • Mel

      I don’t know how many different ways to explain this, but she’s not taking anyone’s faith or beliefs away! Get a grip! Telling her she’s a bad person because she chooses not to participate in a ritual that is contrary to her faith is just disgusting. The children are free to pray and worship and celebrate the birth of jesus in their hearts and minds and words. To suggest that by not buying things like decorations and gifts and not participating in pagan activities somehow denying them their religious rights is absurd. I’m an athiest. I despise everything about christmas. I’m disgusted by the commercialism and the stress and the general nastiness that always seems to accompany this most joyous of seasons. But I would never take it away from those who want it. She’s not taking away their right to feel and rejoice over whatever they want. It’s her home and her right to opt out of a holiday that is contrary to her faith.

    • missiemeghan

      You’ve made it abundantly clear that you don’t get it. Give it a rest already!

    • Mel

      We disagree, so I don’t get it? What a tiny little mind you have. In the spirit of christmas, fuck off.

    • missiemeghan

      Well bless your heart.

    • Mel

      I’ve had more than I can stand of folks like you. There are some decent exchanges going on here and good points being made, then someone like you comes along and makes things so ridiculous. I assumed that only way you would comprehend would be to speak on your level. I hope it helped you.

    • missiemeghan

      I’ve had more than I can stand of people like you, who post the same thought over and over again to every person they disagree with. It’s tedious and childish, much like telling total strangers to fuck off.

    • Mel

      Oh, I’m so sorry to have offended the. In your mature words “give it a rest already!” If your’e so annoyed by me, please feel free to not respond to me. You sought me out for comment, not the other way around. You’re silly.

    • Leah

      You’re a very angry person, aren’t you? Seek help in the new year.

    • Mel

      Angry at people who judge and attack perfectly nice people who happen to rightly disagree? You bet! I’ll help myself by ignoring your existence from here on out. Problem solved :)

    • footnotegirl

      No, she’s a bad person because she chooses to refuse to allow her step children to participate in a ritual and tradition that they have celebrated their whole lives in their home, while expecting them to take part in rituals and traditions that are not part of their beliefs.
      Also, the birth of a Jewish child to Jewish parents is not precisely contrary to her faith? What happened after was an addition stapled onto her faith, but it does not match the definition of ‘contrary’. Perhaps if they were satanists, that might be ‘contrary’ but they are not. It is simply outside her faith.
      Were she Christian, and refusing to allow her Jewish step children to have a Menorah and light candles over Hannukah, I would also say she was a bad person.
      Were she atheist, and didn’t allow her Gardnerian Wiccan stepchildren to burn a candle on Yule, I would also say she was a bad person.
      Were she a Jehovah’s Witness, and didn’t allow her agnostic stepkids to celebrate their birthdays, I would also say she was a bad person.
      Were she on the Paleo diet, and refused to make any food for her vegan step children, I would also say she was a bad person.
      You don’t take a celebration away from kids just because it’s something you don’t celebrate. You honor and respect their differences, and help them enjoy something that makes them happy. And that celebration, even if it is not deeply religiously felt, has recognized physical traditions that are important to the person who holds them. You marry into a family, you accept the differences and honor them.

    • Sara

      Why can’t they just make a new family tradition at RE’s house that isn’t necessarily Christmas? To me that would be better than my stepmom being bitter about celebrating something she doesn’t believe in

    • footnotegirl

      Because stepmom is the grown up and had a choice in creating this, and the stepkids are kids and have no choice. In that situation, the grown up should suck up some bitterness for the sake of the kids whose lives have already been torn up. If the kids are amenable to it, you discuss a new tradition with them well in advance of the actual holiday. Once the kids are grown up, you can cut off the tradition, because they can spend holidays wherever and with whomever they like.

    • topboss.pk
  • footnotegirl

    Rebeccah asks: “What’s the point of buying and then dragging an Evergreen just to be in my living room when I really don’t want to celebrate Christmas?”
    Here’s the answer: The point is to make your stepchildren feel loved, wanted, and honored in the home they live at least part time in, and not ‘othered’ just because of decisions the adults in their life made. They’ve had enough taken away from them, you don’t need to take away more.

  • Rachael Henry

    When my parents divorced my mother found her calling by converting to Judaism. We had Channukah at her house, Christmas at my father’s (he is Catholic). We were educated in both faiths, but since we spent the majority of our time at mom’s, naturally gravitated more toward the Jewish side of the spectrum. Ultimately the decision of WHAT to believe was left to US, the customs were just provided.

    Flash forward many, many years. My husband and I consider ourselves MONOtheistic. We both believe very similar things, but find that they are bits and pieces of organized beliefs, not all one thing. So we have a VERY devout Catholic daughter (she made the decision at age 9), a son who was baptized Catholic (more for my own piece of mind as he was dying and I needed something to grab onto!), and one son who is too young to care much. All 3 know that we love and support them, no matter what. All 3 are educated as to the different customs and beliefs out there, and that just because something isn’t practiced by someone else, doesn’t make it WRONG.

  • CelesteF

    Christmas trees, gift giving and Santa Claus are NOT Christian traditions. Nobody is asking you to take them to Christmas mass and praise the birth of baby Jesus. As much as I sympathize with the conflicts of running a mixed family home, this is a no brainer. If it affects your religious beliefs so much, why don’t you leave the house all day for your take out food and movie so you don’t ruin it for the rest of the family?

  • CelesteF

    I would also like to point out that atheists celebrate Christmas too.

  • Bunchesofoats

    You are a horribly selfish person, it isn’t just your home, it is their home too! If you don’t accept that, your future marriage to their dad is going fail miserably within 3 yrs.

  • Simone

    Judaism and common-or-garden variety, modern, non-denomenational Christianity as indicated by the practice of Christmas, really aren’t comparable. Judaism is kind of a minority and persecuted species, and common Christianity is absolutely everywhere, culturally dominant, and kind of offensive to a large minority. In that respect, it’s not logical to equate Hanukah and Christmas. This is a just a point to those who argue that it would never fly if Rebecca were to tell Jewish stepchildren that they could not celebrate their cultural festivities in the shared home. It’s not the same thing.

  • Meg

    You chose to create a blended family. To write off your stepchildren’s personal traditions in this way is beyond selfish. It’s also incredibly petty. They’re kids. Get a fucking tree. It’s not a crucifix. It’s a tree. And why the hell would it be a problem to foster acceptance bu exploring BOTH holidays?? This opens the stepkids up to your faith as well as feeling accepted in what should be THEIR home as well. You knew people were gonna wanna crucify you in this article, right?!! They’re kids. Ease up.

  • Sara610

    As a Jew in an interfaith marriage who is raising her children exclusively Jewish, I understand your viewpoint on Christmas in your house. What I don’t understand is how you could have possibly gotten to this point without having this conversation and making this decision beforehand. You say you believe “very firmly” in your religion, but if that’s the case, how is it possible that you apparently didn’t take this impending conflict into account when deciding on your family’s living situation? People who believe firmly in things generally consider those priorities when making major life decisions.

    Regardless, this is not YOUR house, it is their house as well (although based on how often you refer to your boyfriend’s daughters living in YOUR house in your columns, I sense that you disagree). When you choose to create a blended household, this is something you need to recognize. They have as much right to celebrate their religious traditions in their home as you do; if you don’t want Christmas celebrated in your house, then just let them spend Christmas with their mother. If she celebrates the holiday and you don’t, it honestly seems unnecessarily spiteful and cruel to keep them from celebrating an important family holiday with their mother. What exactly is the reason that they’re not with her on Christmas?

    • whiteroses

      I agree with this completely. My main question is why she’s been with this guy for years and never had this conversation with him. Dating someone is one thing. Being married to them is quite another, and if you’re married to them and they have kids then you need to accept that sometimes, those kids have to come first.
      This is really a conversation they should have had before they got married. The fact that they didn’t? Doesn’t show an extreme amount of foresight.

    • Mikster

      SO DON”T MARRY Christians or people with Christian children- so selfish!

    • Sara610

      Who are you talking to with this response? I didn’t marry a Christian or someone with Christian children, so what exactly is selfish about my actions? Or are you talking about someone else?

    • Mikster

      It was a response to the [general you], the collective that is one would marry a person of a certain religion or one who has children of a certain religion, and then ban its celebrations on the home that belongs to those people as well.
      Now applying to your specific situation? You say that as a Jew its important to celebrate ONLY (your caps, BTW) Jewish holidays. I assert it would be extremely selfish to marry a person who celebrates OTHER religions holidays, and then ban them from the homer that belongs to ALL who live in it.

    • Sara610

      I agree that it would be selfish. Which is why I didn’t do it.

  • Ugh.

    Well, thank goodness you’re such a devout Jew, with your children fathered by different men and while you’re unmarried. Perhaps this would be a great time to reexamine your sanctimony and realize that religious holidays aren’t about YOU. And if your stepchildren “celebrated” Hanukkah with you without you even bothering to teach them what a menorah is, then it’s quite evident that for you, religious holidays aren’t even about religion. I pity your fiancé, I pity your children, and I pity these other children who will go through life reading articles like this one where they are labeled as “stepchildren” rather than being welcomed into a family that emphasizes love, mutual affection, and togetherness. You’re not the Grinch. You’re worse.

    • Blueathena623

      Well aren’t you a bundle of sunshine this morning Peaches. I’ll be sure to tell my gay friends they aren’t actually good Christians.

    • Ashlea Phenicie

      Lol, they’re not good Christians if they’re ignoring the teachings of the Bible. Instead of saying “well this part doesn’t count,” they should be saying, “hey, this religion seems a little screwy and this God doesn’t seem very benevolent.” I don’t get it when people pick and choose part of a religion to believe. If one part is not true, how can you be so sure the others parts are true?

    • Blueathena623

      Everyone picks and chooses from the bible. Its almost impossible to follow all of it.

    • Ashlea Phenicie

      That’s because it’s the antiquated religion of desert nomads from thousands of years ago.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      Ever read Leviticus? Good luck abiding by all that!

    • Blueathena623

      I am writing this from my menstration tent as I am unclean for the next couple days. How is your unclean area decorated? No other idols or images, I’m assuming, haha!

    • Sara610

      Hopefully you’re not wearing any clothing made from two different types of material over your unclean, menstruating female body. And of course, if you’ve ever worked on the Sabbath or sold any land, you’re a terrible Christian. Have fun in hell, harlot!

    • Ashlea Phenicie

      I don’t lol. I’m an atheist. But if you’re going to except the other parts of the Bible, Leviticus comes with it.

    • rebecca eckler

      It’s true I do use the word stepchildren. But I do love them like my own!

  • whiteroses

    To be honest, I don’t think this is even slightly about religion. I think it’s about respect.

    I’m Protestant. My husband is Catholic. Because of that, we go to both mass and Sunday services, and our son is being raised non-denominational Christian. He was not baptized in the Church, because that’s not what I believe, but he was baptized.
    It’s not the same as being interfaith, but I’d like to think that if my husband and I divorced and he married a Jewish woman, she would respect the fact that my son does not celebrate Hanukkah and never has, and would not expect him to start celebrating it just because that’s what is celebrated in “her house”. I would like to think that anyone my husband would marry would respect my son enough to understand that there are very good reasons why we celebrate Christmas and none of them have to do with commercialism. I would also like to think that it wouldn’t just be HER house, it would be THEIR house.
    Believe what you want to believe, Rebecca. Nobody’s telling you not to. But keep in mind that your household (unless your household doesn’t include your stepchildren, which is a completely different story) isn’t Jewish. Your household is interfaith. Because of that, allowances have to be made. Whatever that looks like for you is fine, but ignoring a major holiday in the Christian calendar when two members of your family are Christian just because you’d rather not celebrate it (even though you said you have no major issues with Christmas) seems pretty selfish to me.
    As far as your son goes- he has Christian siblings. They are just as much his siblings as your daughter is. You can’t ignore their Christianity any more than they can ignore your son’s Judaism. And if nothing else, it doesn’t hurt kids to learn how other holidays in different religions are celebrated.

  • anon87

    The details in this article are scarce, we can only assume exactly what the step-children believe, what her fiance believes, etc. I will say this however: I am not an overly religious person, Christmas is a big deal to me for many different reasons, and not one of them is receiving gifts. I can remember most of the Christmases I’ve had in the last 20 years or so, give or take. If I were in a situation similar to her step-children’s, I’d be very sad looking back and thinking about the Christmas Day we woke up to nothing but a normal day, even with the Chinese food and movie. I just think if it were me and I was expected to celebrate Hanukkah, maybe a little effort could be made by my step-mother and father on a day that is important to me. A little tolerance and patience goes a long way. Helping her family, her stepchildren, make an important day special to them, does not strip her of her religious identity.

  • Sara610

    What is the reason that the children are not with their mother on Christmas? Is she unavailable, or choosing not to spend Christmas with them? I really wish Rebecca would weigh in with an answer to this, because it has a pretty significant impact on how I view this whole thing from a moral standpoint.

    • lilac

      I’m guessing its her turn, same with thanksgiving this year. It just so happened thanksgiving fell on the start of Chanukah. I seriously doubt from the way she talks about her step kids she would have bought them Chanukah presents if they weren’t there. I also would like her to weight in on the equality of those presents. Did she get everyone things about the same value or was it pencil sets for the step kids and video games for her “real” kids?

    • Blueathena623

      Oh really now. Pencils for the step kids and video games for the real kids? I understand that Eckler isn’t popular, but she has written other articles on the stuff she gets for her step kids. They don’t sit in a cage with a crust of bread and some water.

    • Sara610

      This is really the key difference for me. If the girls’ mother is unavailable or choosing not to spend Christmas with them, then Rebecca is in the unfortunate position of having to accommodate relatives of a different faith, who naturally want to celebrate their holidays, while wanting to preserve her own cultural traditions in her own home. Even if this is the case, the drama could have been prevented with a little foresight and common sense, but still, I would have a little understanding for the difficulty of Eckler’s situation if she’s not actually CHOOSING to have the girls with her for Christmas.

      HOWEVER. If the girls’ mother wants to spend Christmas with them, and Eckler and her boyfriend are preventing that from happening AND Eckler is not allowing the girls to celebrate their own holiday in “her” house, when she’s requiring them to be there in the first place…..well, that’s just absolutely deplorable.

    • rebecca eckler

      Thank YOU Blueathena623! see my comment above! Happy holidays to you and yours!

    • rebecca eckler

      I’m sorry. But this is ridiculous. I’m glad you chipped in. So I will explain. My present for ALL of the children is a trip to Mexico. As IF i would get my stepchildren (who I love as my own) a pencil set while getting my bio-kids their very own ponies! Their gifts, and the trip, are of equally value and equally love to all. And we will be starting our own tradition when the kids are with us on x-mas – Chinese food and movie night! Fun!

    • rebecca eckler

      There are reasons the kids are not with their mother. But it’s between their mother and their father and their custody arrangements. There were NO tears from the kids at all. I’m not holding the kids hostage! If they DEMANDED they wanted to spend it with their mother, OF COURSE, we would let them. And we did talk about it. They will celebrate x-mas with their mother on another day.

    • Blueathena623

      Fabulous. Glad to know you aren’t holding your step-kids at gunpoint as you smash their treasured tree ornaments underfoot and feed them arsenic-laced Christmas cookies. Because I’m pretty sure thats what people were picturing.
      On that note, due to work schedules and travel arrangements, I will be celebrating Christmas Eve (which is bigger than christmas for us) with my family on the 23rd, Christmas “morning” with my husband and kid on the 25th, and Christmas dinner with the inlaws on the 26th (which is huge for them). They are all equally “Christmas” no matter the date on the calendar.

  • Dulcie

    If your non-Jewish step-children are part of your household, then it is not a Jewish household. If they’re not part of your household, they celebrate Christmas, and you don’t, why are they spending Christmas with you? This is a bit of a puzzle.

  • Ashlea Phenicie

    Decorated trees, stockings, Santa, and presents have nothing to do with religion, so unless your stepkids are demanding a nativity scene, I really don’t see the problem. Half of the traditions are stolen from pagan traditions anyway.

  • lilac

    If this is anything like the court system I know She has his kids this year because of thanksgiving and christmas, next year they get thanksgiving and christmas with there mom. The only reason she did Chanukah things with them is because they were there since it fell on Thanksgiving this year. Do you really think she would have bought them presents if she did not have to? Also I wonder what they got in comparison to what her “real” kids got. What a witch! Also what’s wrong with getting a little pre-light tree decoration for the table and a small gift for everyone. They should feel like part of the family. It will serve you right in a few years when your own kids renounce there Jewish faith.

  • aCongaLine

    I can’t help but think how you’d feel if your fiance’s hypothetical next wife cancelled any number of Jewish holidays on your kids. (Not to say that your fiance would need a next wife, or anything.) WHo’s more important? You, and your feelings, as an adult? or Your stepchildren, who are, in fact, children? The best way to win over stepchildren would definitely be to prioritize your own blood kids’ holidays, and cancel Christmas. That’s a sucktastic Christmas for your stepkids. Send them back to their mother, for Christ’s sake. Literally. :)

    And we’re a mixed holiday/faith family, too.

  • Blueathena623

    Question for everyone–
    Why are so many people presuming that Eckler is the one who is preventing the step daughters from going to their mother’s? Legally, isn’t that decision up to the dad and bio-mom? And since she’s so conflicted doesn’t it make more sense that Eckler would want them at their mom’s house? The kids apparently spent Christmas with their mom all the other years Eckler and her fiancé were together, so why would she pick *this* year to suddenly be evil and keep her step kids hostage for the holidays?

    • Blueathena623

      And another suggestion — if Christmas is such a big deal at the mom’s house, IF the decision is to allow some Christmas stuff into the house, can’t they just borrow all of the mom’s stuff? If it really is all about tradition and not just about presents, wouldn’t the girls want their Christmas tree and their stockings?

    • Blueathena623

      Now I know people are going crazy. Why the downvote? What is bad about saying the girls should bring their Christmas stuff? If Christmas is about sharing traditions, wouldn’t they want to share their stuff? Personally, I’m partial to my own ornaments, and my son has a stocking with his name on it. I think it would make it much easier to explain to eckler’s Jewish kids as to why they are only having a tree, etc. this year as opposed to every year. Just say “this Christmas stuff belongs to your step-sisters/sisters, they are sharing it with us while they are here, but it is not ours.”

    • Blueathena623

      Now i know people are just being pissy to be pissy. Why the downvote? What’s wrong with having the girls bring their Christmas to their/eckler’s house? Personally, I’m partial to my ornaments and my son has his own stocking with his name on it. If the girls are going to share their traditions and beliefs, share them. And it makes it much easier to explain to the non-Christian kids that this stuff belongs to their step-sisters, and they are sharing it with us this year, but if they aren’t here to share with us, we won’t have Christmas.

    • Michelle Pittman

      because none of THEIR decorations will match her italian rug and super awesome decorations from shra la li la la…

    • Julie

      Well, if Eckler and her baby daddy are refusing to change the schedule they suck. And they are ruining the kids’ Christmas. If the mom can’t/won’t take them then she sucks too and she is running the kids’ Christmas. Which in my humble opinion makes me feel even sorrier for the kids and I think it’s even more important for Rebecca and their father to step up and give these kids a good Christmas. If this is the case they have a mother who does not want to be with them at Christmas and they have a step-mother who has basically made it very clear they are a nuisance to her and writes about it on the internet for the whole world to see.

  • ALE515

    I’m confused. I don’t know anything about the court system when children are involved. With that said, my questions are: Why will you have the kids on Christmas Day if you both don’t celebrate it? How has this not been brought up before? Talking about this well in advance might make Christmas less depressing for them. I know it’s your house, but if you made them celebrate your holiday, is it too much to ask to have them tell/show you how they celebrate theirs?

  • Sam Inoue

    This is so petty. Court ordered days or not you should not be depriving kids of their holiday traditions. All you are doing by being like this is ensuring that your stepkids will resent you. My dad dated a woman who was jewish for a while when I was young, she complained about wanting us to be all blended for me and her kid. In the end she didn’t let us do christmas, even though we have always been catholic. Sadly she didn’t stick around, but it was ridiculous, she decided her way was more important than mine. In the end all your doing is ruining your relationship with your stepkids by undermining them.

  • Anon

    Evidently, one needn’t travel to Iran or Syria to suffer religious persecution. One need only endure being a “stepchild” in Rebecca Eckler’s household.

    • Leah

      I’m sure they’d rather travel to Iran though….Hell, I would.

  • That_Darn_Kat

    Wow, I feel incredibly sorry for your stepchildren. For 10 years of my life, I had a step parent who was Jewish. For 10 years, we celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas. We’d get a portion of our gifts for Chanukah, and the rest for Christmas. If your step kids were adults and no longer living with you, I’d say go for it, but they aren’t. They live with you at least half the time, and they celebrate Christmas. You made the celebrate Chanukah, so you need to bite the bullet and celebrate Christmas for them. It’s not all about You, You, You and by acting like this, you only make them feel unwanted and that you don’t want anything to do with them.

  • Ginny

    I figured it was Eckler

  • Frannnn

    Wait, they came to your house and happily partook in festivities for Hanukkah- a holiday they do not “believe in” or generally celebrate- but you don’t want to do the same for them?

    As for what to tell your biological son and daughter- how about a lesson in loving their family and accepting other peoples’ traditions and faiths as valid? It seems unhealthy how completely you’ve severed “your” family from your step family. I’m sure they aren’t any happier to be stuck with you than you are to be with them.

  • Michelle Pittman

    or you could just let them spend Christmas w/their mom on CHRISTMAS DAY since you and their father don’t celebrate it and they apparently do…
    i’ve tried so hard to not become another anti-eckler, but holy shit you make it hard…and can anyone else instantly id an Eckler article by the title alone?

  • Raindancer

    My soon-to be-hubby is an atheist. I’m spiritual (with no religious association). Yet, we celebrate with a simple spaghetti dinner and cinnamon buns for Christmas in our house for the kids. To be honest with you, I’d be happy without all the gift buying and stress inducing visits to everyone’s family. But, we do it as a small sacrifice to make our kids and family members happy.
    After all, isn’t this supposed to be a season of giving? I say celebrate small and in your own way. Create your own family traditions. It’ll all be over soon :)

  • benvad

    If you’re such a religious jew, why did you marry a goyim? I’ll break it down
    To you. All of the traditions are just cultural myths, including Judaism.
    America is a Christian nation with all of its traditions, Christmas Easter thanksgiving
    are national and cultural holidays. If you can’t live with it, movie to the jewish state.

    It’s as simple as that.