Mixed Feelings About MixedBlessing
11/29/2010 - 14:50

 Do people still send Christmas and Chanukah cards?

The last time I was organized enough to sit down with a stack of envelopes, stamps and list of addresses, was in 1998, when I was sending out wedding invitations. I’m sure that were my lapsed Catholic hubby and I to marry now, we’d probably notify the guests via Evite.

Plus, thanks to Facebook, I now receive daily (if not hourly) updates of my friends’ activities — and those whose status updates and kids’ pictures don’t pop up on my news feed can be easily Googled.

Nonetheless, for those holdouts still wedded to the annual “Happy Holidays and here’s my year in review” ritual, the inevitable dilemma is: which holidays, if any, to mention, especially when the sender or recipient family is interfaith?

For almost 20 years, the MixedBlessing company has offered one solution: a line of attractive, whimsical interfaith cards that highlight both Chanukah and Christmas.

More recently it has expanded to offer other products, like “interfaith stockings” and a book called “Blintzes for Blintzen.”

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about MixedBlessing. Some of the cards, particularly those that feature the two holidays side by side rather than merged, offer a nice alternative the generic “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” cards. Images like two skiing polar bears — one carrying a lit menorah and the other a Christmas tree — as well as the (yarmulke-wearing) Jewish gingerbread boy next to the Santa-hat wearing gingerbread boy would be appropriate for everyone, interfaith or not, just as an acknowledgment of the multiple holidays celebrated this time of year.

I’m also fond of one in which the foreground features a dog making a Jewish star in the snow with paw prints while several Christmas trees loom up in the background.

Where I’m squeamish are the cards that morph the two holidays or make Chanukah seem Christmas-y — such as the Jewish star that’s also a Christmas tree, the image of a reindeer with antlers in the shape of a Jewish star, and the card featuring a gingerbread house adorned with a Christmas tree and menorah.

The “Chanukah stockings” and “Chrismukkah” books also rub me the wrong way.

As for the cards in which Santa is teaching his elves how to make dreidels, and preparing latkes while singing “Falala-latkes,” I just can’t decide. Are they humorous in that they play around with the secular elements of the holidays, or do they push the envelope (pun intended) too much?

In any event, whatever holiday(s) you celebrate this month, I wish you much health, happiness and tasty food. (Yes, I realize I'd better stick to journalism and blogging and  not attempt a career penning copy for greeting cards.)

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Interesting. I'm not a fan of the Chrismukkah stockings or Fa-la-latkes because I feel like they're meshing the two holidays -- or really, adding Jewish flavor to the Christmas traditions. I do, however, like the christmas tree/ star of david greetings card! And, although I would not buy one of the Chrismukkah books, I can imagine they serve a useful purpose for those interfaith families who choose to celebrate both holidays jointly. Happy Hanukkah to you all!
I personally think of the whole "sending cards in December" as a Christmas thing, and I don't do it. I see either kind of card you mentioned as an attempt to draw Judaism into the Christian holiday, which is not something I favor. I don't mind getting Christmas cards from Christians. It's their holiday, and sending cards is one way they celebrate it. And I send Christmas presents to my non-Jewish friends and family, because I want to recognize, and help them celebrate, their holiday. I accept presents from them, too. But I'm not going to send Christmas or Chanukkah or blended cards to the masses. On the other hand, I say, do it if it floats your boat. I don't see it as a big deal either way.
Hi Julie. We spoke years ago about how I feel about mixing Hanukkah and Christmas (don't like it). Then ModernTribe bought Pop Judaica, another Judaica online retailer, and they had a Chrismukkah section, so we kept it. But interestingly, I think the Chrismukkah trend is dying. My prediction -- more gentiles will start celebrating Hanukkah. :) ... or is that my wishful thinking? Thanks for another interesting read! Jennie
julie, this was yet another excellent post with excellent points. we send out a photo card even though you're right: via e-mail, facebook, twitter we are so much more in the know about each other's lives. i think there's something wonderful about real mail, though. and while i do pick out generic wording for our cards, i don't get offended if i receive a "merry christmas" card here or there. why? b/c i get what they mean and did i mention how much i love real mail? :) thanks much for the food for thought, lady! :)