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To Sam

Celebrating Hanukkah

To Sam,

In my home, we celebrate Hanukkah, but we also celebrate Christmas because my dad's family is Jewish, but my mum's family are Christians. This year, because Hanukkah was near Christmas, we lit the menorah at my mum's parent's house. I was very self-conscious because i had never sung Maoz Tzur in front of my mum's parents before. Is this a bad thing because i shouldn't be scared of my grandparents, should i?

Please reply so i know if how i feel is OK

Ask Sam


Hi there,

We can’t always control how we feel, although we can control how we react. It's OK to feel scared about something. When you have confusing feelings it can be useful to think about the reasons for them, so it’s great that you got in touch with me.

It can be difficult when we feel we have certain expectations to live up to or when we're a little scared around older members of our family or community.  Sometimes, we might not know how to act around them or aren't sure what they think of us and our behaviour. We might ask ourselves, 'Am I doing this right?' or 'Am I doing this the way my grandparents want me to?' It's natural to feel uneasy around people we don't see much or when we're doing new things. And we can feel extra pressure when we're at an important faith or cultural event.

Having different people join in when you’re doing something with your family can often feel a bit strange, even if they're people you have a good relationship with. If you post a message on our faith and religion message board you may be able to find out how other people have coped in similar situations. Or perhaps you could talk to another member of your family about how you felt when you were lighting the menorah candle last year.

It’s not bad that you felt self-conscious – but if you often feel scared of your grandparents it might be a good idea to have a chat with a Childline counsellor about the reasons for that. The home and family message board is another place you could talk about this more with other young people.

Take care,


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