Our bellies were barely filled with Thanksgiving sweetness — pumpkin and apple and pecan pies, of course — before my kids started asking about Hanukkah.
And while I was about to argue — Not now! Too soon! Enjoy one holiday at a time! — a quick glance at the just falling snow and a flip of the calendar told me they were spot on.
Hanukkah is just around the corner and while I’m gearing up for candles and latkes and apples sauce and more latkes, one thing I’m not doing is shopping.
My Hanukkah memories have softened edges.
My mother, father, and I sitting around our wooden dining room table — covered in a plastic tablecloth lined with tiny eyelets — latkes and apple sauce and sour cream piled between us, and Hanukkah music playing on the stereo by our side — the tape so old, the static in the music familiar, warm, comforting.
Moments before we lit candles one of the nights, it didn’t matter which one, my mother would hastily wrap a present for me in shiny blue and silver paper. Something I needed — a sweater, a purse, a book, and in later years, a check so I could get exactly what I wanted.
My husband Jason was raised Catholic and has been incredibly open to celebrating Hanukkah in a way that works best for our family.
And since my Hanukkahs were about spending time together, that’s what we’re trying to recreate today.
Here’s how we do it (with gift ideas included).
There are so many possibilities depending on your kids’ ages and interests. I love planning the nights, but it might be fun to see what the kids come up with, too.
From Ice Cream Sundae Night to Wii Night to Movie Night to Reading Night (read and read and read a chapter book), the point is to just be together. And to eat latkes.
What Family Night ideas would you add?