PopRocks: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This is a guest post by Gila Drazen.

Hodesh tov, everyone – Happy Kislev! Today is the second day of Rosh Hodesh Kislev, and while I will grant you that here in New York it’s harder to actually see the new moon come in, I’m always excited when this month rolls around. Why, you might ask? Well, a couple of reasons.

Firstly, my birthday is Kislev 3 (true story – my mom went into labor early enough in the day that a family friend started needlepointing a birth announcement, put in the dates and saved space for the name, and it totally says Kislev 2.  I’m sorry, Ema!), and we all know how I am about my birthday.

Secondly, well, who are we kidding? It’s Hanukkah!

Ah, Hanukkah. (And yes, that’s my default spelling; feel free to disagree with me, but that’s how I roll.) The scent of fried potatoes, half-melted chocolates, gift-wrapping stress, and of course, the annual pressure of creating nightly candle color schemes. I’m not going to lie, I’m a total Hanukkah cynic. Well, at least until the last night. There’s something about looking at all the lights, maneuvering the shammash back into its place without burning my hand, the smell of those candles, looking at all the bubble lights in our family’s electric hanukkiah. . .

My brother announced a virtual boycott of the holiday a few years ago – he does not give gifts, he discourages the purchase of gifts for him. . .but he won’t say no if you offer him one.

And in that spirit, I wanted to throw out the first few gift ideas for your favorite pop junkie.

  • Loves music, loves to dance?  There’s a wide variety of Glee-related home entertainment available for purchase, now, right before Hanukkah, and right after.  (Who was wondering how I was going to get to Glee in this week’s column?)
  • Loves to read but doesn’t want to shlep lots of stuff?  How about an e-reader?  A Kindle, a Nook. . . the market’s exploding, and you can carry many books (and newspapers, and magazines) in a small package, fits into a coat pocket or purse.
  • Digs art?  Museum gift memberships.  (If you’re really feeling generous, come see me here and check out the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA!)

While I realize I’m probably not breaking new ground here, I just wanted to get you thinking.  So here’s one more:  Individual songs for Rock Band or Guitar Hero. And just to bring this post full-circle, I found out that one of my very favorite original Hanukkah songs is now available for download on Rock Band 2.  It’s called Hanukkah Blessings, by Barenaked Ladies (while I’m not sure how I feel about them now as a four-piece group, the work they did as a five-piece band ranks among my very favorite music).

It brings a little tear to my eyes, more often than I care to admit, and this week I leave you with a capture of the footage from the game (the song is available on their album Barenaked for the Holidays).


Hodesh tov – I’ll see you next week!