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Leveragng Non-Profit Surveys

The Challenge

In 2004, "Chrismukkah," a fake holiday created by the Fox drama "The O.C." that combined elements of Christmas and Hanukkah, became a huge holiday story, with media coverage in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and TV morning talk shows. Although it recognized the concept of a holiday that combines Hanukkah and Christmas is meant to be light-hearted, InterfaithFamily.com (www.interfaithfamily.com), an independent non-profit publisher and advocacy membership association, felt that "Chrismukkah" was a bad idea. As part of its planning for 2005, InterfaithFamily realized that Christmas and Hanukkah would overlap, making it inevitable that the media would cover "Chrismukkah" again. The organization wanted to offer the media a different, non-Hollywood perspective on how real interfaith families actually celebrate the December holidays.

InterfaithFamily serves as an online resource to everyone touched by Christian-Jewish intermarriage and every other kind of interfaith relationship. While InterfaithFamily seeks empowers interfaith families to make Jewish choices for themselves and their children, it delivers helpful, non-judgmental information to interfaith families regardless of religion. Whatever religion or traditions a family follows, InterfaithFamily feels that it is important to respect and honor the other religion and those family members.

Below the humorous idea behind "Chrismukkah," InterfaithFamily's publisher, Edmund Case, felt that there are serious issues of integrity and respect for two different holidays, that it is the antithesis of maintaining special traditions, and could only confuse children being raised with one religious identity in an interfaith family. The organization, working with Birnbach Communications, developed the following objectives:

  • To address reasons that make "Chrismukkah" a mistake.
  • To provide the media with access to interfaith families who can discuss their approach to celebrating the holidays.
  • To conduct research to provide insight into interfaith families and the December holidays.
  • To generate broad pick-up of key messages.

Strategic Execution At Work

We helped InterfaithFamily draft questions for its its second annual "December Dilemma Survey," designed to better understand how people in interfaith families celebrate their own and their partners' holidays and to gain insight into those celebrations. The survey consisted of 20 questions, including some specifically addressing "Chrismukkah," and fielded responses from nearly 400 self-selected people nationwide. The data was compared to the initial "December Dilemma Survey," conducted the prior year. Additionally, we researched how often the two holidays overlapped, finding that Christmas and Hanukkah started on the same day only four times in the past 100 years. We also researched the number of times the two holidays overlapped over the next 10 years.

We wrote a press release that highlighted the survey findings that interfaith respondents said they would keep their observances of Christmas and Hanukkah separate – despite the fact for only the fourth time in a century, the two holidays began on the same day.

The Results

The four-times-in-a-century factoid was picked up by the Associated Press, generating more interest in how interfaith families celebrate the December holidays. We generated more than 100 placements from a signle press release, including: Associated Press, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Detroit Free Press, Forbes.com, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and Newsweek.

We generated coverage in markets the client had identified as important, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, DC., Cleveland, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

Coverage of InterfaithFamily was positive and positioned the organization as helpful to interfaith families. We secured numerous interviews. And a number of articles cited the "December Dilemma" in their headlines. The resulting coverage increased by 400 percent from the previous year.

Coverage includes:

  • Santa Fe New Mexican: "Mistletoe and menorahs: Family balances faith and tradition celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah" (Dec. 27, 2005)
  • Ontario (CA) Daily Bulletin: "Overlap of Hanukkah, Christmas celebrated" (Dec. 26, 2005)
  • Cleveland News-Herald: "Hanukkah and Christmas come together for first time since 1959" (Dec. 26, 2005)
  • News 8 Austin: "Jewish community celebrates miracles of Hanukkah" (Dec. 26, 2005)
  • Free Republic: "Jewish volunteers from around the country spend their Hanukkah rebuilding New Orleans" (Dec. 26, 2005)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "Solving the 'December Dilemma'" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Denver Post: "Families weather calendar collision"(Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Newark Star-Ledger: "Dec. 25 is a double celebration this year" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Miami Herald: "Double the Celebration: The first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas for only the fourth time in 100 years, causing many interfaith families to double up their plans" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel: "This year menorah, Nativity share a day" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Des Moines Register: "Jews and Christians celebrate today" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Baton Rouge Advocate: "December dilemma: Interfaith families straddle two worlds during holidays" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Buffalo News: "Merry Hanukkah, Happy Christmas" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Ann Arbor News: "This year, interfaith families straddle 2 holidays in 1 day" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Bay City (MI) Times: "Two Faiths, One Celebration" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Whittier (CA) Daily News: "Christians, Jews seek to merge December traditions" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Pasadena (CA) Star News: "Christians, Jews seek to merge December traditions" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • San Gabriel (CA) Valley Tribune: "Christians, Jews seek to merge December traditions" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Pittsburgh Citizen's Voice: "Twice as nice" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Rutland Herald: "Interfaith families, inlaws must make holiday peace" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Burlinton (IA) Hawk Eye: "Hanukkah 'minor' compared to other Jewish holidays" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze: "Blending holidays can mean one big happy 'Chrismukkah' For the first time since 1959, Hanukkah starts on Christmas Day, creating a special day for religious" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • News 12 Long Island: "The wait is over: Families and friends celebrate Hannukah and Christmas" (Dec. 25, 2006)
  • Aspen Times: "Seasons meeting" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Ventura County Star: "Editorial: Hanukkah Holiday" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Cape Cod Times: "Families embrace joint holidays" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • (Hudson Valley NY) Journal News: "Two holidays, one day in Lower Hudson Valley" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • (Hudson Valley NY) Journal News: "Single vision helps interfaith families on double holiday" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Fort Collins Colorodoan: "Interfaith families value two religions" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Toledo Blade: "Blending celebrations" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Spokane Spokesman Review: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 25, 2005)
  • Detroit Free Press: "New Traditions: Sharing 2 holidays" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette: "'Chirstmukkah' family" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Metrowest (MA) Daily News: "Christmas, Hanukkah share a rare day of celebration" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Hartford Courant: "Interfaith Families Blend Holiday Traditions" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Waterbury (CT) Republican American: "Christmas, Hanukkah share date, not all traditions" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Shreveport Times: "Overlap of Hanukkah, Christmas means families share traditions" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • San Jose Mercury News: "Seeking harmony of holidays" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • North County (San Diego) Times: "Festival of lights: Hanukkah celebrations remember miracle" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Orlando Sentinel: "2 faiths, 1 date" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Saint Paul Pioneer Press: "Jews and Christians share a special day" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Boston Herald: "For Christians, Jews, a rare holiday pairing: Christmas, Hanukkah observances coincide"
  • Arizona Republic: "Sharing holidays As more interfaith families grow in Valley, so do new traditions" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Wichita Eagle: "Merry Chrismukkah" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Concord (NH) Monitor: Do they know it's Chrismukkah? For many this year, the celebration is double" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle: "Interfaith family finds joy in garland and gelt" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Woodland (CA) News: Interfaith challenge on this Christmas (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Daily Hampshire (MA) Gazette: "In interfaith homes, a harmonius convergence" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Santa Barbara News-Press: "Two faiths share holidays joy" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Washington Times: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Bremerton (WA) Sun: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Bennington Banner: "Two religions share a day" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Joplin (MO) Globe: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Macon (GA) Telegraph: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Jackson Hole (WY) Star Tribune: "Hanukkah begins on Christmas Day this year, creating challenges for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Ocala (FL) Star-Banner: "Blended Holidays: Interfaith couples celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah on same day this year" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Ocala (FL) Star-Banner: "Handling the December holidays: Tips from Interfaithfamily.com" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Chillicothe (OH) Gazette: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 24, 2005)
  • Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (PBS): "Interfaith Holiday Traditions" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Dallas Morning News: "Could 'Chrismukkah' appeal to all?" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Cincinnati Enquirer: "Sharing the faith" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Palm Beach Post: "Interfaith families get creative as Christmas, Hanukkah collide" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Corvallis (OR) Gazette-Times: "Holiday mish-mash" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Jewish Journal of LA: "íTis Never the Season for Chrismukkah" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Nashville Tennessean: "Holiday celebrates diversity" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • New London (CT) Day: "'Chrismukkah' An Interfaith Challenge" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Evansville (IN) Courier & Press: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Canton (OH) Repository: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Bay Area (CA) Argus: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Barre Montpelier (VT) Times Argus: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Helena (MT) Independent Record: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Columbia (SC) State: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Pravda: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Raleigh News & Observer: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Contra Costa (CA) Times: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • San Mateo (CA) County Times: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Detroit News: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Albany Democrat-Herald: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Salem (MA) News: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 23, 2005)
  • Lexington (KY) Herald Leader: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (December 23, 2005)
  • USA Today: "Holiday travelers will have plenty of company" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Patriot Ledger: "BLENDING FAITHS AND TRADITIONS: Interfaith families celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah together" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Christmas at dawn, Hanukkah at sunset" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Forbes.com: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • New York Newsday: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Portland (OR) Oregonian: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • San Diego Union Tribune: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Houston Chronicle: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Los Angeles Times: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Philadelphia Daily News: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Miami Herald: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Seattle Post Intelligencer: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • New Orleans Times Picayune: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Tacoma News Tribune: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Akron Beacon Journal: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Oklahoma City Oklahoman: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Fort Worth Star Telegram: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Lakeland (FL) Ledger: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Biloxi Sun Herald: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Washington (DC) Town Hall: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Flint Journal: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Bradenton (FL ) Herald: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • McMinnville (TN) Southern Standard: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Tuscaloosa News: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Manchester (England) Guardian Unlimited: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • New Brisbane (Australia) Leading the Charge: "Holidays double up for interfaith families" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • North County (San Diego) Times: "Tips for interfaith celebrations" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Washington Jewish Week: "Becoming Jewish? Non-Jews doubt conversion calls will affect them" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Brookline Tab: "Keeping the faiths" (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Daytona Beach News-Journal: "Interfaith couples sharing the holidays" (Dec. 21, 2005)
  • The New York Times: "Holidays' Convergence Adds to December Dilemma" (Dec. 20, 2005)
  • Newsweek: "Surveys: Merry Whatever!" (Dec. 19, 2005)
  • Providence Journal: "Christian, Jewish holidays coincide" (Dec. 19, 2005)
  • Cleveland Jewish News: "A Recipe for Kris Kringle Kugel? Chrismukkah Time is Here Again" (Dec. 19, 2005)
  • Jewish Telegraphic Agency: "A Recipe for Kris Kringle Kugel? Chrismukkah Time Is Here Again" (Dec. 18, 2005)
  • Parents and Kids: "Handling the duo-December holidays" (Dec. 18, 2005)
  • Indianapolis Star: "Hanukkah's Dec. 25 start a test for interfaith families: Jewish holiday, Christmas overlap for first time since '59" (Dec. 18, 2005)
  • CJP: "A Recipe for Kris Kringle Kugel? Chrismukkah Time is Here Again" (Dec. 18, 2005)
  • The Nashville Tennessean: "Interfaith families handle holidays in different ways: Most celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas separately while others combine them" (Dec. 17, 2005)
  • East Valley (AZ) Tribune: "Interfaith couple finds workable ways to observe Jewish, Christian holidays" (Dec. 17, 2005)
  • Boulder (CO) Daily Camera: "Holiday Harmony: How interfaith families can cope with holiday convergence" (Dec. 17, 2005)
  • Baltimore Sun: "Separate faiths, a shared date" (Dec. 17, 2005)
  • The Wall Street Journal: "The Hard Sell: Jews consider proselytizing to fight assimilation" (Dec. 16, 2005)
  • The Jewish Advocate: "Interfaith community says no to conversion" (Dec. 15, 2005)
  • Boston Globe: "Interfaith families, inlaws can make holiday peace" (Dec. 15, 2005)
  • Baltimore Jewish Times: "Conservatives Reach Out To Intermarried" (Dec. 15, 2005)
  • Beliefnet.com: "December Dilemma Watch: Holiday Peace with the In-Laws" (Dec. 15, 2005)
  • Beliefnet.com: "December Dilemma Watch: Don't Wish Me Happy Chrismukkah!" (Dec. 14, 2005)
  • Gazette.Net (MD): "Christmas, Hanukkah events planned..." (Dec. 14, 2005)
  • BeliefNet: "Don't wish me a Happy Chrismukkah" (Dec. 14, 2005)
  • USA Today: "Interfaith families stress holiday's religion" (Dec. 13, 2005)
  • Yahoo News: "Interfaith families stress holiday's religion" (Dec. 13, 2005)
  • Jewish Journal of L.A.: "Acts of Faith" (Dec. 9, 2005)
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Unsatisfied Lawyer Finds Fulfillment Helping Interfaith Families" (Dec. 8, 2005)
  • Newark Star-Ledger: "Dec. 25 is a double celebration this year" (Dec. 7, 2005)
  • InTown: "How to Avoid the Hanukkah-Christmas Competition" (Dec. 2005)
  • Chicago Parent: "Bridging the holidays: Interfaith families learn to respect both faith traditions" (Winter 2005)
  • Baltimore's Child: "Candles for Hanukah, Family for Christmas and Tzedakah Most of All" (Dec. 2005)
  • Jewish Community of Akron: "Tips on December Dilemma" (Nov. 29, 2005)
  • The Forward: "Rabbi Urges Conversion, Sexual Limits" (Nov. 25, 2005)
  • Jewish Advocate: "Interfaith couples elect for day school education" (Nov. 25, 2005)
  • Santa Barbara News Press: "Jewish Families" (Nov. 23, 2005)

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