Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chanukah in Santa Land

Christmas in the Tiny Victorian Village of Van Nuys

On Sunday night, the first night of Chanukah, my cousin Myrna and her husband Biff invited us over for dinner. Myrna was raised Jewish....both of her parents were Jewish. Biff is not Jewish. Since Myrna and Biff have been married, they have always celebrated Christmas. I suppose Myrna is reacting to all of those early years without festive decorations for the holidays. Chanukah really isn't a major holiday. It just seems that way, because it's at the same time of year as Christmas. For many years we hosted the family Chanukah party. In the past few years our extended family has just grown too large for me to host the party at our little house, especially in the winter when we can't party outdoors. Myrna was NOT taking on the task of hosting the family Chanukah party. She just wanted Larry and I to come over for dinner so we could see her Department 56 Miniature Christmas Villages!

ChinaTown Village

I guilted Myrna into serving a Chanukah dinner, since it was the first night. So, we had latkes (potato pancakes) on Spode Christmas tree plates. I brought my menorah and we placed it on the table in front of her Santa Claus centerpiece. The rest of the dinner was fairly traditional too....roasted chicken with cranberry sauce, apple sauce and sour cream for the latkes, green beans with mushrooms, pumpkin and apple pie.
Myrna's magical Christmas villages are beautiful. There's a Victorian Village, a ChinaTown Village, a Frontier Western Village and numerous displays of tiny buildings around the house. Myrna also has quite a collection of Christmas plates. I guess Myrna likes to celebrate Chrismas instead of Chanukah because of the artistic aspect. There wasn't a crucifix anywhere in the house...this was strictly a non-religious celebration. It was a very festive and colorful way to kick-off the season.

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At 4:03 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love seeing the big Christmas displays that other people put on. I personally don't have the patience to put one of my own together. But my Aunt Rose does the same sort of Dept 56 displays, along with lots of crafty Xmas decor around the house, and of course a large Christmas tree filled with trimmings.

It sounds like your family is as cross cultural as mine. Our chicano family has brought in people of various descents, including Norwegian, Swedish, Irish, and of course my fellow of Ukrainian jewish descent. Oh, and my nephew married a Russian girl, from Russia, last year! He met her while serving in the Air Force in Germany. They had to speak German to each other, since that was their only common language.

Thanks as always for sharing your special family happenings with us. You are blessed to have such a close and extended family.

Christine G.

At 6:24 PM PST, Blogger woolanthropy said...

Myrna's house is so festive. I love her little villages, especially chinatown.

At 8:57 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the little villages! We celebrate both, it's how I was raised. I admit that we're a little sketchy sometimes on remembering to light the candles, but we try. This year was a banner one, I did not have to look at the back of the candle box to remember the prayer. I kind of can't imagine Christmas without a menorah or Chanukkah without a tree.

At 9:40 AM PST, Blogger justclaire said...

What a lovely way to start the holidays. The villages are very sweet!


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