Milwaukeeans celebrate Chrismas Eve and Chanukah

Posted at 9:55 AM, Dec 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-25 10:55:36-05

For just the fifth time in 100 years, Chanukah and Christmas Eve fall at the exact same time. Both were observed throughout downtown Milwaukee Saturday night.

Inside the Intercontinental Hotel, a group of young Jewish professionals gathered to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah.

"It means it's the start of a new season," said Matt Kaplan of Milwaukee.

Dozens took part of the annual traditions of spinning dreidels, eating fried foods and lighting the first candle of the Menorah.

"It makes me feel like I should celebrate with family," said Stacy Meyerson of Milwaukee.

The group always gets together on December 24th, although this time many are particularly thankful.

"It's actually nice to be able to celebrate something on Christmas Eve as opposed to staying in and watching Netflix and getting Chinese take out," said Kaplan.

A mutual feeling of warmth and togetherness extended just a half a mile away for another yearly ritual. Hundreds of Catholics pack St. John the Evangelist to celebrate Christmas.

"I always love coming back from college to be with my family and spending time here," said Max Loebl of Whitefish Bay.

The trip to church for songs and prayer reminds those of Christian faith to remember the true meaning behind the holiday.

"Celebrating the birth of Christ and spending time with those you love most," said Nancy Loebl of Whitefish Bay.
Back at the Chanukah party, Kaplan urges those regardless of faith or belief to be mindful that both holidays are being celebrated at the same time.

"Don't have a myopic view of the world and just be open-minded to what other people celebrate," he said.