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A (Once) Lonely Jew on Christmas

Different religions ringing in the holidays

Ah, the holidays. Peace and joy...and the bitter division of families everywhere! Being part of a couple during the holiday season is always a tough one. Whose family do you have dinner with? How much money do you spend on gifts for your in-laws (or almost in-laws)? In my relationship, there's an added dynamic: Stephanie and I are different religions.

I'm Greek Orthodox but didn't grow up very religious. Instead, I like to call myself "culturally enriched." Both my parents are "off the boat." Dad is Greek; Mom is Italian. So we make Christmas our version of My Big Fat Greek (and Italian) Wedding, which is way different from how "Americans" celebrate.

I'm Jewish. Christmas to me was always Chinese food and a movie. Luckily, Stephanie's mom is totally flexible. I believe her exact quote was, "I want Thanksgiving and Christmas! Every year!" Okay, Christmas I get. After all, I don't really celebrate it -- outside of watching Ralphie get shoved down the slide by the bottom of Santa's boot. So of course we'll celebrate Christmas with Steph's family, no problem.

Ten years ago, my family traded our cozy home in Pennsylvania -- complete with snow, a fireplace and a huge Christmas tree -- for Florida sunshine, bathing suits and eating out on Christmas Eve. Yes, that's how my family rolls these days -- and we all love it! (I'm convinced they must have always known I'd bring a Jewish boy into the picture.)

Interestingly enough, Steph's family celebrates in Boca Raton, where the concentration of Jews can rival Tel Aviv. Their Douglas firs are palmettos, and instead of eggnog, you get two eggs, any style, for $2.99. And the only chestnuts roasting on an open fire are my nuts, sweating in the Florida heat. At the very least, I'm amongst my own.

How did your holidays change once you got into a relationship? Any hurdles you had to overcome?

Stephanie Tsoflias is a reporter for WPIX in New York City. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@lifeofareporter). Dave Siegel is a writer and stand-up comedian in New York City. Visit his website,, and follow him on Twitter (@StandUpDave).

-- Stephanie and Dave