Chrismukkah: Our favorite hybrid holiday from the O.C.

We all have our own holiday traditions that make this festive season feel cheerful and jolly. We pick out a Christmas tree from the lot, put on our favorite holiday classic movie, or dance around to some carols. Christmas isn’t the only holiday people prepare for, as Hannukah and Kwanzaa celebrations are in full swing in December. But some households hold people who celebrate more than one holiday, so what does their holiday season look like? The O.C.’s Seth Cohen famously gave his interpretation of a mixed-faith household’s festivities with the Chrismukkah.

According to legend, Seth came up with Chrismukkah when he was a mere five years old. Seth wanted a party to celebrate both his father’s Jewish heritage and his mother’s Protestant beliefs. Chrismukkah was then born. Seth describes the spliced festivity as having “twice the resistance of a normal holiday.” Seth in O.C. is always proud of the holiday he invented. He eagerly introduces his adopted brother Ryan to the Cohen family tradition. The four Chrismukkah episodes we were blessed with show more traditions such as the Yamaclauses or Seth’s custom Chrismukkah carol set to Death Cab’s “A Lack of Color.” In season 2 of The O.C., Seth starts thinking bigger than his parent’s living room, intent on making Chrismukkah a global holiday.

Little did Seth Cohen know that Chrismukkah would make an impact on the world outside of The O.C.’s four seasons. Then again, Seth did mention his hybrid holiday would one day enter the zeitgeist. Chrismukkah, like it’s predecessor Seinfeld’s Festivus, became a TV holiday many celebrate today. Families who held both Jewish and Christian members now had a way to combine both their traditions into one pithy sounding celebration. They were free to mash those traditions into whatever way suited them. For instance, the Cohens celebrated their Chrismukkah with Chinese takeout and watching It’s a Wonderful Life and Fiddler on the Roof.

Seth invented Chrismukkah to honor both sides of his identity. Seth’s unwillingness to compromise on what makes him unique proves the outsider he’s shown to be on the O.C.  Newport didn’t exactly welcome Seth’s strange, sarcastic defiance of its social norms. But if Seth weren’t the weird misfit toy we came to love, then Chrismukkah wouldn’t be the epic holiday we know today.

Chrismukkah is now a real holiday because of what it represents to people. It demonstrates tolerance and inclusiveness by combining two cultures into one. The funny portmanteau of Christmas and Hannukah can also be melded in more ways than one. And Christmanukkah has also celebrated along with Kwanzaa included celebrations like Chrismahanukwanzakah and HanuKwanzMas. It goes to show that people can create their own unique ways of celebrating peace, love, and togetherness. 

So whether you eat stuffing or potato latkes, light candles or trim a tree, or read poetry or sing carols, those traditions are what bring you together with your loved ones to celebrate what the holidays are about. Let us know your holiday traditions in the comments!

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