In Need of a Hanukkah Tradition

It’s the third morning of Hanukkah, my son awakens from a night of restful sleep, immediately sits up, anxious to find his present of the day. He looks down the bed and sees… nothing! Why? Because I’m a lame-ass dad who has not established a tradition of daily gift giving during Hanukkah. It’s not that I haven’t gotten gifts in the past. Last year I went with the stall technique, telling them I would buy them some crap during the holiday or if they could wait until February I’d buy them a Netbook (they went with the Netbook). But this is the year to be less lame. This is the year to start a tradition that should have been started years ago. This is the year my children get eight gifts, even if they are lame-ass gifts.
But if I’m going to establish an eight gift tradition, I want to get it right. So… what should I do?
The proven, effective method is the one my parents employed when my brother and I were growing up. Led by my father, we got a bigger gift the first night, and woke up each of the eight mornings to some little gift at the foot of our bed. Traditions were quickly established. One night was always a big bag of M&Ms. Another night my brother got some sort of soap product like soap on a rope and I got a silly little puzzle. It got even more strange from there, as I think my father, and his odd sense of humor, really enjoyed going to Target and buying a bag of silly things for our daily presents. Well, let’s ask him… Hey, Old Man, what was up with those goofy gifts you used to get us on Hanukkah?

‘Old Man’, huh? OK, senility reigns, pal. I don’t remember nuthin’. I don’t know whatcher talkin’ about! I always thought Goofy was a cartoon dog. Target? That’s for archery practice. You got any M&M’s leftover from the Hanukkah you were seven years old and cute? They don’t let me have them in this place you put me. One of the residents here is kinda hot, but she hit me with her walker when I offered her a sip of my Jack Daniels. Did you know that Prozac and Jack Daniels do not mix well? Nurse Ratchett, the floor supervisor, told me I was getting too personal.  I’d like to get personal with Nurse Ratchett.  Who’s got an odd sense of humor?  You talkin’ to me?  You talkin’ to me?  Why did you put me here, anyway?

Surprisingly, that may have been one of the more coherent answers I’ve gotten from him in a while. He was in town a couple weeks ago. Would you like to know the wise, scholarly advice and teachings my father passed down to me during his last visit? He taught me how to make a couple balloon animals. True story.
But back to the topic at hand.
Of course part of the tradition for my brother and I was for the week before Hanukkah trying to find the Target bag holding our gifts that was hidden somewhere in the house. I think we only succeeded once. I’m sure this is a bad idea, but… Dad, where did you hide that bag?

I don’t remember nuthin’! Who are you? You look like my son.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Anyway… I’m guessing many of you out there grew up with traditions, maybe variations of what I described above. I’m ready to start something, something that involves the one gift a night idea that is so unique to this holiday. I want to hear about your traditions, either ones you currently do with your children, or ones from your own childhood, so I can shamelessly steal them, combine them with others, and create my own. My children will thank you.

Send me Nurse Ratchett and I’ll thank you, too.

Thanks Dad, go take your Haldol and leave the nurses alone.
(photo: Liliachd on Flickr)