Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Hanukkah Survey

This survey is going around the Jewish professional blogs and so I thought I'd share it with you.

One menorah, or several?

We own 9 menorahs (thanks to the Jewish preschool - we have 6 homemade ones). We only use 3 though on each night of Hanukkah - one for the family and the kids each have one.

Do you buy your children gifts for every night of Chanukah?

They get a gift from us for 6 nights. The other two nights they receive gifts from the grandparents.

Do you and your spouse/partner or any other adults in your life exchange gifts?

We exchange with kids and adults alike.

Special family chanukah traditions?

We invite our Jewish neighbors and neighbors of other faiths to our house to celebrate Hanukkah complete with pizza, latkes, munchkins, menorah lighting and dreidel. We also attend the synagogue Hanukkah events and spend time with each of our families during the week.

Latkes or sufganiyot? If latkes, sour cream or applesauce?

How is this for boring - Weight Watchers latkes with low fat sour cream or applesauce for me. Everyone else gets the real thing!

Favorite chanukah book?

Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming. :)

Do you actually play dreidl? If so, what do you use for counters?

Yes, we play dreidel and we use m&ms or pennies.

What relationship, if any, do you have with Christmas and all things Christmas-y?

Chinese food and movies, of course! Actually, my favorite songs this time of year are Bruce Springsteen's rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I also like Winter Wonderland and Let it Snow. If our friends invite us over for egg nog, we are happy to take part.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Holiday Moment I'll Never Forget

It isn't even officially the holiday season, yet decorations are everywhere and the Salvation Army has taken its post outside of the doors of the mall.

Tonight, I took my children to the mall and we walked over to the cosmetic counter. A very nice young woman helped me with my selections and while she was trying it on me - she spoke to my kids.

"So, are you excited for Christmas?" she asked. I waited. Each year the kids have stayed silent not knowing what to say or how to react. They've been embarassed and have looked at me for assistance. This year - I just waited to see what happened.

My son answered, "We are Hanukkah not Christmas."

Not missing a beat the woman started to talk to both of them about how lucky they were that Hanukkah comes early this year and that they get 12 days of presents while she only gets one.

My daughter politely informs her that they only get 8 days of presents and affirms that they are indeed excited about it with a big grin on her face.

Here comes the best part. I was already proud of the fact that my kids said it out loud and with pride - "We celebrate Hanukkah." But then something else happened.

When I went to pay for my purchases, the saleswoman turned to them and wished them a Happy Hanukkah. My daughter turned around and wished her a Merry Christmas. And I just absorbed the moment where each person respected each other's holiday, recognized their differences and wished them a meaningful holiday greeting.

I know that there is a lot of talk about how "Happy Holidays" is too generic and impersonal to say or how salespeople shouldn't assume that everyone celebrates Christmas. This argument never really mattered to me until I witnessed this great moment when people of different faiths and traditions came together in mutual respect, much excitement, and pure joy.

I could not have been more proud of our family. It is truly a holiday moment I will not forget.