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Hanukah and Christmas to be Jointly Celebrated for 39th Consecutive Year December 17 at Riderwood Residents' Apartment Home

December 2, 2011

Hanukah and Christmas to be Jointly Celebrated for 39th Consecutive Year December 17 at Riderwood Residents' Apartment Home in Silver Spring, MD; Mary and Roy Popkin Always Find Room for a Menorah and a Christmas Tree
SILVER SPRING, MD (December 2, 2011) - Hanamus, the name coined to describe a combined Hanukah and Christmas party, will be  celebrated for the 39th  consecutive year December 17 at the Riderwood retirement community apartment home of  Mary and Roy Popkin. This year's celebration will be extra special since members of their family have recently become their neighbors at Riderwood.
The Popkins -- along  with Roy's first cousin Bob Pinsker, his wife Sheila, and their two daughters, Laurie and Elisabeth --  began this tradition long ago and have continued it each year.
The first Hanamus celebration by the Popkins came about when Sheila told the Popkins in 1971 that she enjoyed seeing decorated trees in Manhattan, NY, windows and wished to see some of them up-close. She knew that there would never be a Christmas tree in her and Bob's home, but thought it would be rewarding to see a tree up close and possibly even help decorate it.
Thus, on a Sunday afternoon in 1971 - several days before Christmas and close to the Hanukah eight-day observance - the two families decorated a tree, which earlier in the  week had been lugged up three flights of stairs to the Popkins' apartment in Gaithersburg, MD,   Some of decorations had already been purchased at Peoples Drug Store, a predecessor to CVS. They included little red feathered birds, red velvet ribbon for fashioning into bows, and cranberries and popcorn for stringing into strands to be hung on the tree. One of those bows and a bird are still among ornaments put on the tree annually.
The height of the tree never changed - always around seven feet tall - but the ornaments grew in number and beauty, particularly some glass ones selected by Sheila, who leads glass-interest tours for the Smithsonian. Topping the tree was always a glass Star of David. Live trees were decorated in both the Popkins' Gaithersburg and Silver Spring, MD,  homes.
A menorah is always present, and it is lit if Hanamus is celebrated during Hanukah. Decorations also include what some guests have dubbed "little people", manger scenes mostly crafted in countries Roy and Mary visited on their vacations.
The menu usually includes fresh fruit, lox spread and little bagels, cheese and crackers, baked ham plus egg salad for sandwiches, chips and dip, rugelah and,  sometimes, a special treat prepared and brought by Sheila, plus, of course, wine, beer and sparkling cider.
The celebrators grew in number over the years and the party guests include the original children, now toting their own children. Additional cousins, nieces, nephews, and spouses have also become Hanamus regulars over the years. The numerous generations gather to celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas, in a Hanamus celebration.