December 03, 2004 12:00 PM

Michael Welch’s approach to Chanukah has always been unorthodox. The son of a Jewish mother and Protestant father, the Joan of Arcadia actor learned about the holiday “from A Rugrats Chanukah when I was about 7,” he says, laughing. When asked to explain it to his non-Jewish classmates at middle school, “I sang the Adam Sandler Chanukah song.” Welch, 17, celebrates at his cousin’s house in L.A. with potato latkes, gefilte fish and games. “I have a cool family,” he says. “We are not strict about things.” During holiday readings, for instance, Welch has impersonated the voices of Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Cosby and Hank Hill from TV’s King of the Hill. One of Welch’s all-time favorite gifts was a Simpsons chess game. “I still use it,” he says, “even though I’ve lost some of the Barts by now and replaced them with pieces of paper.”

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