I have an office staff member who celebrates Hannukah. Everyone in the office is giving gifts but her. Why doesn’t she celebrate Christmas? Can you explain exactly what Hannukah means to Jewish people at Christmas time?


It's very thoughtful of you to ask these questions and make the effort to respect your coworker's religion and wishes.

The most important thing to understand is that Christmas and Hanukkah are two entirely different holidays. Although they fall around the same time of year, they're not related to each other, and just as Christians don't celebrate Hanukkah, Jews don't celebrate Christmas.

I imagine your coworker is uncomfortable with gift giving and other typical holiday gestures simply because it's not her holiday. I'm sure she'll have no problem wishing you a happy new year, and she means it sincerely. If this isn't causing serious tension in the office, I'd let it go. I'm sure you'd rather have a positive office environment all year round than a strained atmosphere over a once a year holiday.

Let me know if this helps.