Spin the dreidels, light the menorahs, it is Hannukah time. When we announced that Saturday was the first night of Hannukah, the kids dropped their electronic gadgets, stopped texting their friends, and cleaned the table off. Everyone was so excited to start the celebration.
What, your calendar says that Hannukah is still a couple of weeks off? Well, because Hannukah coincides with our trip to California to celebrate Christmas with my family we are doing it early. We have always played loose with the dates for Hannukah. When our kids were really small we made the decision to celebrate each holiday on its own. We felt that by making each event stand on alone, it would eliminate the competition between the two.
The agreement Bob and I reached before we got married was that we would celebrate Christmas with my family but not in our house. We have violated this one year when we didn’t have the time or resources to go to my family’s home. We had a very low key celebration at our house. I am not sure what we will do when my mother is no longer with us, and I don’t like to think about that.
At first I was disappointed about this. I fought it, and tried to put up a tree and decorations. Now, I love that we don’t have to worry about putting up lights and decorating a tree. It is one less thing I have to do. When we go to my mom’s the kids can do all the Christmas stuff. I don’t have to try and squeeze it into our schedule. When we are there we can do it without all the other stressors of our lives. The kids get the full experience and I have less work, win/win!
But, back to Hannukah… it was great to watch my kids get over-joyed by lighting the menorah. To actually want to sit down and play dreidel with us, we sure don’t have this response when we suggest family game night. They immediately started in on determining when we would have latkes and who we would invite. Because of the schedule, the idea of donuts for dinner was met with squeals of excitement.
My youngest who is 6, asked about presents. We told her, that because we were doing it early that the only gifts they would get during our Hannukah would be the ones from us. They would still get gifts from everyone else, but they would just come later. We reminded them that they will just get the usual gifts from us. We give money, clothing and an experience. That is it. Last year we swapped out a material gift for an experience. The experiences were a trip to a baseball game, a pony ride and a professional soccer game. It was something each kid got to do with their father, alone. It was very well received.
So, while for most people Hannukah has not started, for us it is almost over. That is ok, because we will leave the “coldest place on earth” and head home to California for two weeks of Christmas. It works for us, what works for you?