5 Amazing Picture Books for Interfaith Families Celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah.

Cosmic Unicorns is committed to bringing more diverse, inclusive, and empowering books to the world’s bookshelves. We go to great lengths to make sure the books and products we are recommending are AWESOME and fit our affirming criteria. This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase from my link at no additional cost to you. Here is what you need to know about Interfaith Families celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah.

What to Know about Interfaith Families and celebrations

According to a review from the Pew Research Center, about 50% of Americans celebrate Christmas primarily as their religious holiday. Furthermore, with interfaith relationships on the rise, it’s becoming normal for Jewish families to participate in Christmas traditions and vice versa. Pew found that around 70% of Jewish Americans with a non-Jewish companion had a Christmas tree in 2013. In the mid-2000s, the TV show “The O.C.” came up with a name that best portrays the converging of the two occasions:”Christmakuh.” Both special holidays share lights, food, and family and have much in common.

Children with parents that celebrate different religions can benefit from seeing the melding of the two celebrations come to life in picture books. Even if a child only celebrates one religion, it is helpful to see illustrated books that include the joining of religions positively and healthily.

Why share about multiple different holiday celebrations?

 As the holiday season draws near, it’s necessary to share with children a variety of cultural traditions to further their acceptance of the celebrations of others. The holiday season can be an incredible chance to investigate other social customs and traditions. Finding out about different religions and cultural celebrations enhances your child’s encounters with the world and increases cross-cultural understanding. Learning about other’s celebrations doesn’t detract from a youngster’s family’s festival; but rather encourages them to make connections between their practices and the practices of others. Books are a great way to motivate, educate, and inspire children. 

Cosmic Unicorns recommends these five book titles about Christmas and Hanukkah joint celebrations.

1. Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama: By Selina Alko 

Overall, the wonderful artwork has a definite Maira Kalman look and feel. The inventive pictures use bits of collage for everything from the tree branches to the steam coming from the latkes. This book does a great job capturing the love that everyone in this mixed household shares. Religion can sometimes lead to arguments more than affection, so this is a book that can (and perhaps should) begin a discussion. It is certainly a helpful roadmap for families that need help to survive the holidays.

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2. The Trees of the Dancing Goats: By Patricia Polacco

In this story, the main character’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the scarlet fever epidemic. The family struggles to enjoy their Hanukkah feast because they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration. They will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors: “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon the family living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.

Based on a long-cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

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3. Nonna’s Hanukkah Surprise: Karen Fishman

Rachel loves visiting her Italian grandmother, even though Nonna celebrates Christmas and Rachel and her parents celebrate Hanukkah. Rachel plans to share Hanukkah with her whole family, so when Rachel’s special hanukkiah goes missing, Nonna steps in to save the day.

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4. December’s Gift: An Interfaith Holiday Story: By Ashley Smith Santos

Join Clara and her two grandmothers, Bubbe and Grammy, in their warm kitchens during the December holidays. Clara’s experiences in December’s Gift are very specific to her family: frying latkes with Bubbe and baking cookies with Grammy. Hot oil and sugary stars tell two stories of different miracles as the two grandmothers recount holiday memories and cooking traditions. Clara comes to realize how she is being given December’s gift and will give both traditions to her own family someday. Clara’s experiences of both cultures are rich and inviting, offering children the opportunity to see themselves reflected in her world.

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5. Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein: By Amanda Peet

Rachel Rosenstein is determined to celebrate Christmas this year—and the fact that her family is Jewish is not going to stop her. In a series of hilarious and heartwarming mishaps, Rachel writes a letter to Santa explaining her cause, pays him a visit at the mall, and covertly decorates her house on Christmas Eve (right down to latkes for Santa and his reindeer). And while Rachel may wrestle with her culture, customs, and love of sparkly Christmas ornaments, she also comes away with a brighter understanding of her own identity and of the gift of friends and family.

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Cosmic Unicorns believes that in order to create a more diverse, inclusive, and empowering world for our children we need to educate them about cultures, beliefs, and practices other than our own. In addition to the awesome Interfaith books shared above your little unicorn will LOVE a personalized adventure book of their own for a holiday gift, birthday gift, or just because gift! Customize your own today at cosmicunicorns.com

If you want to know more about different diverse children’s books for your little unicorns, make sure to visit our website at https://www.cosmicunicorns.com/ and follow our social media accounts for updates!

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