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Hanukkah, Christmas Part of Family's Traditions

The King family of Kennesaw celebrates both holidays.

For Angie King, celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas is all she's ever known.

The Kennesaw resident was raised in an interfaith family, her mother being Jewish and her father coming from the Methodist faith.

"We always had a tree," King said. "We always had a menorah."

While many of her classmates were jealous of the fact that she received presents for both holidays, others were mean, making fun of her and calling her names.

"A lot of people were ignorant," she said. "I came across a lot of prejudice."

And, that's something she hopes her 4-year-old son, Ethan, won't face as much of as a Jewish child who also celebrates Christmas.

"I know that he will run into some things," she said.

This is the first year the Kings really celebrated Hanukkah, which ended Sunday. This year, King and her son lit the menorah candles every night, and Ethan had one present to open for each of the eight nights.

"He gets to pick which one he wants, and that's what he gets," King said.

For Christmas, the family will spend Christmas Eve with King's family and then open presents at their own home on Christmas morning.

"It's like going full circle," King said. "You were brought up a certain way. Then, you become a teenager and rebel. When you are in your 20s, you are trying to find yourself. Then, you get married and have kids of your own, and it all comes back around again."

King's husband, Steve, is secular humanist and, while he doesn't celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas, he still observes the holiday with which he was raised. While he respects his wife's and son's religion and takes pictures of the menorah lighting, it's not something in which he participates.

"It's partially by choice," he said. "They say prayers in Hebrew, and I don't understand Hebrew or want to understand Hebrew. I recognize that it is Hanukkah. I recognize that (Ethan) is, by tradition, Jewish. I know that he will be Jewish, and I'm OK with that."

Angie King said that being raised in an interfaith family has made her a better person.

"I understand why people say 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas,'" she said. "Christmas isn't the only holiday. It's not all about Jews. It's not all about Christians."

And, that perspective is something she hopes her son will get.

"I want him to be understanding of how people were raised," she said.

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