- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Every December, Zack and Hilary Rudman used to send out nonsectarian cards with winter scenes and generic holiday greetings.

Now, however, Mr. Rudman, a Kansas City lawyer, has found a variety that seems to better suit a Jewish man and an Episcopal woman with two children.

These cards proclaim: “Merry Chrismukkah!”

“I’m all for holiday cards, but I want to make sure when we send something it respects both sides of our family,” Mr. Rudman said. “I always like to deal with religious differences with humor. These were right up my alley.”

Christmas and Hanukkah, two holidays that seem to share little more than a calendar page, increasingly are being melded on greeting cards aimed at the country’s estimated 2.5 million families with both Jewish and Christian members.

“It’s representative of the way people live and the way they spend the holidays,” said Elise Okrend, an owner of Raleigh, N.C.-based Mixed-Blessing, a card company devoted to interfaith holiday greetings. “And it’s an expression of people understanding the people around them.”

MixedBlessing was among the first to come out with holiday cards intended for Jewish-Christian families about 15 years ago and still might be the only company focusing entirely on that market segment.

In its first year, it sold about 3,000 cards. This year, Miss Okrend projects sales of 200,000 cards from its 55-card line.

Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards Inc. says one of its most popular categories of Hanukkah cards combines Jewish and Christian themes. American Greetings Corp. has about 10 Hanukkah-Christmas line offerings this year.

The newest player is Chrismukkah. Ron Gompertz, who is Jewish, founded the company this year with his wife, the daughter of a Protestant minister from the Midwest.

Chrismukkah’s cards include images of a Christmas tree decorated with dreidels, a menorah filled with candy canes and messages such as “Merry Mazeltov” and “Oy Joy.”

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