Tonight marks the start of Chanukah, which by any standard isn't the most significant of Jewish holidays but when you are 4 and a half, it certainly is. My kids will be overloaded with gifts this year—from their grandparents, aunt/uncle, extended family, babysitter and of course their mom and dad. Yet, their favorite things still continue to be activities like coloring and baking cookies (my daughter) and throwing a tennis ball to the dog (my son).
So why did I find myself fighting crowds at a very disorganized Toys R Us at 8 p.m. on a recent weeknight? Well, it seems that I, too, have gotten caught up with this holiday.
As a young child growing up in a reform Jewish home, I distinctly remember my parents actually hanging a stocking above our fireplace (the horror!) and leaving out cookies & milk for Santa until I realized there was no Santa. Looking back, I realize that perhaps that was more because my parents wanted to eat the cookies but also probably to see the look of joy on my face on Christmas morning. I never had a Christmas tree or eggnog, but I definitely looked forward to waking up to see what Santa had brought me.
While I won't go that far with my own family, I do look forward to the "traditional" Chanukah celebrations of lighting the candles for eight nights, saying the prayers (which I sure hope that three years of Jewish preschool have taught my daughter), eating latkes and watching my 4.5 and 1.5 year old tear open presents that they will no doubt love (for at least a day or two). I also hope this year will be the start of creating new memories and traditions that my kids will carry on with their families. (And the latkes aren't so bad, either!)
What memories or traditions will you be creating or celebrating this holiday season?