Arts

TV Critic’s Corner

A holiday intermarriage pioneered by the ‘O.C.’

Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson) basked in the warm glow of Chrismukkah on “The O.C.”
Darren Michaels/FOX
Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson) basked in the warm glow of Chrismukkah on “The O.C.”

It’s December, and all the classic holiday specials are upon us, but I’ve been thinking about “The O.C.,” and in particular that show’s episodes about Chrismukkah, the intermarriage of two December holidays that was pioneered by the character Seth Cohen.

The son of a Jewish father and a mother whom he referred to as “Waspy McWasp,” Seth — played endearingly by Adam Brody — liked the way the hybrid celebration normalized the many Jewish-Christian families dealing with an annual tug-of-war. In his sweet way, he wanted to draw on the best of both sides — eight days of gifts followed by one day of many gifts, plus Chinese takeout on Christmas Day.

On television from 2003-07, “The O.C.” aired four Chrismukkah episodes during its run, provoking objections that the invented holiday made Hanukkah a little less Jewish and Christmas a little less Christian. But the episodes also offered a pop-culture salve to the many American families caught between in-laws and rituals. By the way, Chrismukkah should not be confused with Festivus, which was a “Seinfeld” thing. “The O.C.” is available on Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon Prime.

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Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.