As we count down to Christmas in the NappyValley household this year, Hannukah is a big topic of conversation. I think it's partly because it falls so close to Christmas this year (it started this week) that the boys are very aware of it, and are starting to ask lots of questions about the Jewish and Christian traditions.
Indeed they seem to know more about the lighting of eight candles and spinning the dreidel than they know about the nativity at the moment, and have kept me well informed about the numbers of Jewish and Christian children in their classes.
Meanwhile, the mixed faiths of people living on Long Island makes for some interesting conversations. "I'm Jewish, but we always celebrated Christmas, so I'm a little screwed up about the whole thing," one friend confessed to me. Then there's the Jewish man who lives in our neighbourhood but has the most over-the-top Christmas decorations I've ever seen, and another friend who's Catholic but sends her kids to a Jewish preschool, so ended up lighting a menorah (she sang 'Happy Birthday' while doing it, for want of knowing the appropriate song).
Perhaps this is best illustrated by a conversation Littleboy 1 and I had at bathtime last night.
"Mummy, some people in my class are Jewish AND Christian," he said very earnestly.
"Well," I said, "Maybe one of their parents is Jewish and the other one is Christian."
"Yes," he said. "I think that's it. You know, I think it means the Mum must be Jewish and the Dad must be Christian."
"You're absolutely right," I replied, impressed that he knew that the Jewish religion is passed down through the mother.
"Yes," he continued. "Because Christian is a boy's name. And Jewish? That sounds like a lady."
Merry Christmas, everyone. And Happy Hannukah.