Minnesota Mamaleh: Holiday Gifts and Why I LOVE Them

I heart presents. Don't you?

Eight nights. Eight nights of latkes, dreidels, gelt, sufganiyot. And eight nights of gifts. Why yes. Yes we do subscribe to the gift ‘em till they drop school of thought. Why? Because it’s fun. And special. And different than all of the other days of the year that I have to mutter, explain, repeat: We can’t afford it. Put it on your list. You could save for it. We don’t need that right now. We have so, so very much.
We spend all year long grinding in such values as money-saving-worth-and appreciation and you know what? Every once in awhile I just want to say Yippyyy!! You got the exact stuffy-lip gloss-legos-book- anything (besides noisy toys. Those I am against. Even when I’m “in the spirit” and everything) that you wanted!

The night the kids wrapped their presents to give. Also known as the night I ran out of tape.

And while I realize (fully) that whatever your December holiday is, it’s not actually about the gifts, I do think that presents can be a wonderful part of the special-ness of it all.
We don’t have the financial freedom to buy our kids eight BIG gifts. But if you do? I don’t begrudge you that, silly. I think that we all work hard for every single cent that we have. And if you want to have eight crazy nights of HUGE gifts? By all means! Not Jewish? But your under-the-Christmas tree is bursting at the seams with gifts? Go for it! Don’t celebrate any of the above? But just like to shop? None. Of. My. Business.
And here’s a shocker (that for the record, I’m ducking in preparation for the backlash to) I don’t actually think that my kids (Or yours. Or that Mom’s over there. Not her’s either.) are any worse for the wear ala gift-giving. Because remember? We teach them oh-so-very much on the day to day, that one day (Or in my case, eight. But still!) isn’t going to change it all. Make them forget it all. Or ruin it all.
Wednesday was the last night of Hanukkah and you can breathe a sigh of relief. Because, surprise! My kids got eight gifts and they’re totally and completely fine. Phew.
So in the spirit of prolonging holiday-talk, I thought I’d share with you (Yes, YOU!) eight little Hanukkah 2010 gems. From my house to yours. You’re so very welcome!

We light, we eat, we gift.

8. The girls asked for a Taylor Swift CD. Which we totally bought. And danced to. At which point a little piece of Jason’s jazz playin’-old school rap lovin’-classical enforcin’ heart died. Right there and then. In our kitchen.
7. One night’s gift was having a hot chocolate party. With candy canes. And candy cane hershey kisses. Health conscious moms, eat your hearts out! Chloe said it was her “Best Hanukkah EVER” and if she had asked, I so would have let her eat all of the candy canes. And all of the Hershey kisses. And maybe even all of my hot chocolate. So there.
6. We ate So. Many. Latkes and learned about So. Many. Dips, sauces and ahem accompaniments: hot sauce (Thanks Jen!), ketchup (Uh yeah, thanks Chloe), cream cheese (Who knew?), jelly (Hmm), Nutella (Really?) and vodka (Genius. Pure genius.).
5. Brody picked out my candles one night. They were all red, green and white. Kayli and Chloe agreed that it was the prettiest menorah they had ever seen. The irony was not lost on me.
4. When I went to get Brody out of his crib one morning he had this year’s new dreidel firmly clenched in one hand. Chloe’s was in his other hand. And Kayli’s was under his pillow. Love him.
3. We had to pay for the girls’ dance recital costumes one night. Happy Hanukkah to us! Louie got neutered another one of the nights. Happy Hanukkah to Louie! The dance costumes cost more than the neutering. Just saying. Also, Louie got eight Hanukkah gifts. I don’t even recognize myself anymore.
2. We pulled the trigger on band hero and spent HOURS in our pajamas playing, singing and rocking out. Jason and I found our inner divas.

We so rocked Band Hero. look closely, our band name is Ninja Cupcakes. I mean, seriously? Could you love that any more?

And as for our #1 Hanukkah gem? The one that we’re likely to never-ever forget? Was giving the kids funky scissors. They spent at least an hour cutting up their wrapping paper. It was either a total and complete hit for all of us. Oooor it was an exercise in fine motor skills for the kids and in how much of a mess can you handle forthesakeofthechildren for Jason and I. The paper! OHMYGOD the teenytiny pieces of paper! EVERYWHERE. Sigh.

So that’s it friends. A tad sadly, and all too quickly, Hanukkah is over. Our gems were shiny and bright just as they should be. My cup is still over-flowing and my main goal now is to stay warm for the next few months despite the lack of latkes (sob. sniffle). Perhaps we can fill up on hot chocolate. With candy canes. Damn, I hate Winter.