Rewriting Holiday Traditions

| 11/26/2013 11:10:00 AM

Tags: holiday gifts, House in the Woods Farm, Maryland, Ilene White Freedman,

For the past couple generations, exchanging gifts has been a featured Chanukah activity, just as it is for Christmas. There are other things to do—playing the dreidle game, making potato latkes, lighting the menorah, but let’s not fool anyone—the spotlight shines on receiving gifts each night of Chanukah.

When I was a kid, we lit our Menorah every evening of Chanukah and we each opened a present.

Chanukah Menorah

There are eight nights of Chanukah, so one night the gift might be a pair of socks. But still, a gift each night. When my kids were young, I carefully wrapped small gifts for each night of Chanukah, passing on my family’s tradition. Just like in my childhood, we lit the Menorah and sang Chanukah songs and the kids opened a little gift each night.

Gifts can be nice, but we all know how materialism can take center stage for the holidays. I was surprised to get crankiness from my child on night three. And he didn’t even receive socks. I realized that the gift did not satisfy. It needed to be a better gift, something as much fun as the first gift, to offer a more entertaining evening.

That’s a lot of pressure for a little gift. Eight nights in a row.

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