Natalie Portman to put up first Christmas tree
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Natalie Portman to put up first Christmas tree

With Hanukkah and Christmas coinciding this year, pregnant actress and her Jewish family make exception to tradition

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

A pregnant Natalie Portman talks with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, November 29, 2016. (YouTube screenshot)
A pregnant Natalie Portman talks with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, November 29, 2016. (YouTube screenshot)

It’s taken 35 years, but Natalie Portman is finally getting her first Christmas tree.

The Jewish actress told The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday that since the first night of Hanukkah coincides with Christmas eve this year, her family has decided to celebrate both holidays together.

Portman, her French choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied (who converted to Judaism in 2014), and their 5-year-old son Aleph usually observe Hanukkah at their home, and celebrate Christmas with Millepied’s family at their house. However, this holiday season Portman and Millepied are hosting everyone at their Los Angeles house, with both a Christmas tree and a menorah on display.

“I was asking my husband, ‘Is it okay for your family if we don’t have a tree?’ and then my parents were like, ‘We can get a tree,'” she told Fallon.

The Jerusalem-born Portman, who is pregnant with her second child, said she couldn’t have been more pleased about her parents’ willingness to deviate from tradition, at least this once.

“So excited! Like my whole life no Christmas tree, and then all of a sudden they have this great excuse, because it’s every Jew’s kind of secret wish to have a Christmas tree,” Portman explained.

Happy for the actress to have her first Christmas tree, Fallon presented her with an official The Tonight Show ornament to hang on it. Fallon pointed out that the ornament was silver and blue, presumably referring to traditional Hanukkah decoration colors.

It is unlikely, given the Israeli-born Portman’s outspokenness about her Judaism and Zionism, that the tree is a sign of any weakening of the actress’ Jewish identity. Furthermore, it can be expected that Portman and her husband will raise their second child in the Jewish faith, as they are their son Aleph.

News of Portman’s second pregnancy broke in September when she appeared at the premiere of her film “Planetarium” at the Venice Film Festival with her baby bump showing through her form-fitting white Grecian-style Dior gown. Portman’s pregnancy was also apparent as she has walked the red carpet recently for her other soon-to-be release film, “Jackie,” in which she plays the former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Portman’s due date has not been announced, but she assured Fallon that it is not for months, despite how large her belly is already.

“I’m a small person in general. So you show a lot faster and a lot more when you’re small. Everyone thinks I’m about to pop, about to give birth any minute. I have months to go,” she said.

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