Some Las Vegas Valley families incorporate multiple religions into holiday traditions

Some celebrate the birth of Christ. Some light the menorah. But for couples and families from different religions, marking the winter holidays is an exercise in the art of compromise.


The Buccieris celebrate Christmas because husband Eddie is Catholic, and Hanukkah because wife Tobie is Jewish.

The Desert Shores couple met in high school and even discussed how to approach the holidays before tying the knot in 1982.

Tobie was adamant that there would be no Christmas tree. Eddie was OK with that. Their first holiday included Christmas dinner and blue lights strung around the house’s door and windows.

“That way, he got his Christmas spirit, but in blue, representing Hanukkah. So, it was the ‘cheat’ way of doing it,” Tobie said. “It relieved me of the guilt.”

They lit the menorah but had a Christmas Day celebration, too.

“And I was always very supportive,” Eddie said. “If someone mentioned Santa, I’d say, ‘But the ‘Hanukkah Man’ is coming, too.’”

About five years into their marriage, their son Adam was born. He got a stocking from Santa and presents for both Hanukkah and Christmas. Tobie made latkes — potato pancakes traditionally made on Hanukkah — and they sang songs associated with both religions.

“Adam had the best of both worlds,” Tobie said.

Fast-forward nearly 30 years and Adam, now a representative for a product called Never Too Hungover that’s billed as a hangover-prevention drink, moved back in with his parents temporarily.

They celebrated the holidays with a Christmas tree despite Tobie’s misgivings decades earlier.

“I said, ‘I don’t care anymore,’” she said, laughing. “I’m comfortable with it. Last year, we stuck little bottles of Never Too Hungover on it.”


Tina Yan and her husband of 13 years, Jay Kenyon, faced a similar dilemma before getting married. She is Christian. He is Jewish.

They vowed to honor both religions while keeping them separate.

“We didn’t want to dilute either holiday,” she said.

Their children, Kenyon, 6, and Avi, 10, attend a Jewish religious school. Family members light a candle on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, but they also celebrate the birth of Christ. Occasionally, the children accompany their mother to Sunday services.

“We go, ‘Here’s what Mommy believes and here’s what Daddy believes,’” Jay said.

Tina is Chinese, so they incorporate a lot of cultural traditions, such as Chinese New Year. When the children were born, each had a bris (a Jewish ceremony) as well as red-egg parties, marking an infant’s first month.

“It obviously stems out of infant mortality concerns,” she said.

Meanwhile, the family began decorating in early December — the tree, a Mezuzah on the door, a menorah and vintage Chinese art on the wall.


Another family, the Sligars, also incorporates Chinese traditions into the winter holidays.

Chloe Sligar, 4, is half-Chinese and knows how to say “hello” and “I don’t know” and count to 10 in Chinese. She lives with her mother, Nicole.

Nicole said she has loved Chinese culture since long before her daughter was born. She lived in China, where Chloe’s father is from, for a while. Nicole has tried to visit more frequently to keep Chloe rl connected to her Chinese side of the family and their culture.

Nicole said it’s important for Chloe to honor Chinese traditions alongside American holidays. Every Christmas, Nicole — who practices no particular religion — takes Chloe to visit her aunt, who is Mormon, and participates in a Nativity play with her aunt’s family.

The Sligars celebrate Christmas but also prepare for Chinese New Year. They purchase bright-red Chinese ornaments that hang near the front door year-round.

“There’s a legend that says there is a dragon that lives in the Chinese mountains,” Nicole said. “He doesn’t like red or loud noises, so a lot of the Chinese traditions have to do with keeping that dragon away.”

Each gets a new pair of shoes and a haircut, symbolizing a fresh, clean start for the new year.

Together, the two attend the Chinese New Year celebration in Las Vegas’ Chinatown district. Nicole said Chloe, who is learning kung fu, may be part of the holiday performances soon.

Fifteen days after the Chinese New Year is the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated with food, fireworks and lanterns. To celebrate, Nicole said, the two attend the RiSE Festival featuring sustainable lanterns in the Mojave Desert.

“The lanterns look like crackers,” Chloe said.

To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email or call 702-387-2949.

North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like