Christmas Eve Dinner Stress


So tomorrow is Christmas Eve, or as I like to call it, my daughter Kaitlyn’s birthday (what better day to have a child of an interfaith family, right?).  We always have Christmas Eve at our house so that my Jewish family and Alex’s Catholic family can see Kaitlyn for her birthday.  I think this is a great idea in theory but a pain logistically.  I wanted to make Cornish hens for dinner as that seemed neutral and I knew my mother-in-law was making meat for Christmas Day.  My husband, however, decided to take over and we are now having chicken parmesan, sausage, meatballs, manicotti and other sides.  My husband points out that my mother and sister can eat the pasta so we don’t have to worry about the pork or the mixing of meat and dairy.  He doesn’t seem to get the “not quite respectful” feeling I think this shows (my Jewish brother-in-law will eat all of it and quite happily).  What was wrong with Cornish hens?  Everyone eats chicken and no one would have been secretly offended.  I don’t think my sister will really care at all but my mother will be quietly thinking “If my son-in-law was Jewish this never would have happened.”

I should have been more forceful, I know, but I feel like since it’s “his” holiday that I have to just smile and be quiet, even though it is also Kaitlyn’s birthday.  Next year is what I am telling myself.  I think I will announce that it is going to be our tradition to serve chicken Christmas Eve so that going forward there will be no more problems.  I am also planning to suggest that some chicken be cheese free to make everyone happy.

I feel like the Jewish Scrooge of my household and it just sucks <sigh>. What are you eating tomorrow night?

2 thoughts on “Christmas Eve Dinner Stress”

  • I had this conversation with my husband once after I (the Jewish half of our marriage) started going “kosher style” and avoiding pork, shelfish, and mixing meat and cheese. We had friends over – also an interfaith couple, but they don’t keep kosher – and he decided to make meat lasagna. So he made meat lasagna. I wasn’t pleased, to put it mildly, but I bit my tongue until afterwards. Then we hashed it out and I said that I’m not ok with him making food I won’t eat – and he knows I won’t eat – for big meals like that in our house. He agreed. As you said, I found it disrespectful. I don’t force him to eat kosher in the house, and he’ll often have a glass of milk with dinner or whatever, but if he’s making a meal, it’s just common courtesy to make sure to make something that as many people as possible around the table can eat. I’d do the same if there was a guest who had a food allergy, or was vegetarian, so why does this have to be any different? I’d take those things into consideration and do my best to make a meal where everyone can eat everything, or at least the central dishes. I certainly don’t demand that his family make only kosher food when we’re over – it’s their home – but if its your home, it should be food that you and your family can eat. Especially since I don’t see why it’s such a big deal to change the menu a bit. It is a respect issue, I think.

  • We’re going out for Chinese food. It’s sort of a tongue in cheek way for my (Jewish) husband to traditionally celebrate Christmas, given that he didn’t celebrate it at all. I sympathize with you – my mother is making pork for Christmas dinner. I know she doesn’t mean to be insensitive, she’s also making turkey as well. But the fact that we keep kosher, even vague kosher, like avoiding pork and shellfish, is so far off her radar, it doesn’t really register. Happy birthday to your daughter!

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