Minnesota Mamaleh: Holiday Gifts and Why I LOVE Them
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!
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!
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.
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.
Perfect- sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate. Well done.
sounds balanced in your values and practicality. what pisses me off about goody-too-shoes types is that they are usually covert operators. say one thing but reality is the opposite so they keep the internet appearance. your modest approach is first rate in my book
the band hero rocking it out would be my favorite of your list. only because i love to make a fool of myself around family and i have less talent than the bad america idol contestants. letting kids see you trying things you are not good at is a great gift to them.
this might sound dumb, but i hope that this winter you get alot of family time next to a fireplace and out in the snow. seems so backward in todays age of contant business but those simple pleasures are what kids (myself a 36 yr old one) remember later in life
They are truly gifted children – what a great way to celebrate together as a family (though, population control aside, I feel a bit sorry for Louie ;-)). Shabbat Shalom!
What joy, what fun, what wonderful memories you and your family will have to remember years down the road.
Ah, those funky scissors…love it, love the photos, love the entire idea behind your delightful Hanukkah nights and days.
My grandies were a joy to watch, and yes, they had a gift for each night, along with cookie making moments, helping with dinner, and lighting the menorahs.
Hugs to you. Shabbat Shalom!
Can I come to your house for Chanukah next year? It sounds like too much fun to pass up.
p.s. Just had the gratuitous evil twisted thought that if you wanted to save money, you could USE the funky scissors to actually DO the neutering. Oy, that’s terrible. Thought I’d share it anyway so you’d know what an evil twisted genius I am.
I LOVED IT ALL! Especially that Louie got eight gifts as well. And, maybe it’s not that you don’t recognize your self Galit but rather, you are getting to know yourself better 😉 Anyway, I love gifts – giving and receiving. And I especially love that they come in many, many forms. And how wonderful that there are special times of year where we can enjoy and partake in all that you did as a family. Full of tradition, fun, happiness, warmth, laughter and yes, some gems! Beautiful overall – and wonderful post as always. Hugs! (P.S. good for you in getting Louie neutered) (PPS: I’ve tried but I can’t get into Taylor Swift -something wrong with me?)
Arg! It ate my comment.
Let me just restate briefly: black-bean-chili cheese latke. (Latke, slice of cheese, spoonful of hot veggie chili.) Day-umn!
It sounds like such a fun time!
I had a lot of trouble commenting because if the whatever-it-is-called…And my comment just disappeared….OY!
Basically what I said was: I think you and Jason were so resourceful in gathering wondergul gifts and making certain simple but WONDERFUL things special, for each night! Congratulations on a WONDERFUL HAPPY HANNUKAH
Sigh. Sounds lovely.
And I’m so with you on letting it all hang out for one day – or eight.
I love it when I can yes, yes, and yes again.
Such a nice change.
I’m sorry I am late in wishing you a Happy Hanukkah. It sounds like all had a wonderful time. The special scissors would have delighted my girls too.
Oh what total fun. We have, some years, gone on a solstice evening walk & then come home for hot chocolate. I share that with you as a fellow winter hater. Because solstice means the light will start elongating again, you see what I’m saying?
I love how you let fun be fun, let yourself–& thus everyone else–enjoy the special moments. I must learn from you.
I would take 8 little gifts over 1 huge one any day…the fun is in opening them, right? And I love your stance on this…I’ve never thought of it that way. But you have a really valid point!
Thanks for making me think, as usual!!
We’re Christmas morning folks and I envy you the 8 days because I want it to LAST! I want it to go on for EIGHT DAYS!! I hate that it’s over in a matter of hours, and then wham! I try to drag it out as long as possible. “Hey let’s play with that for a while! The rest of the presents? They can wait! Please! Let ’em wait!”
I think there’s a world of difference between kids who are spoiled every day of the year (and never learn about the value of things, or about saving up, or about waiting for what you want) and making things special when it’s a special occasion (whether that’s your religious festival of choice, or their birthday, or an important exam result). I don’t have kids (though I help with local Brownies), but if I ever do, I hope I can make the season special for them because it was always magical for me.
Loved Chanukah,. but am so very glad it is over.
How wonderful! I love how your family celebrated the holiday. I’m all for gifts for each night – big and small, store-bought and homemade – it’s all special and fun, just the way the holidays should be!
Galit: Thanks for giving me a glimpse into your world! Something tells me that your children will grow up understanding the joy of both receiving AND giving gifts!
Oh – don’t tell anyone but I’ve got three of the new Taylor Swift songs on my iPod and when one of them comes on the radio, I sing along in the car!
I love giving gifts for the holidays … there is nothing like seeing the excitement when a kid gets a “dream” gift. And I’m especially happy because this year, my kid’s dream gift includes books!!!!
A hot chocolate party? Also a dance party? Your family is officially awesome.
Sounds like crazy 8 days of fun that I would love to be part of! You are right…celebrate away. It’s only once a year and you are creating fun memories for your children.
I love the crazy scissors and hot chocolate party. What a fun Mom you are. And? you gave me some great ideas for my kids.
What a smart way to tell us about your own Chanukah! I love it.
My favorite shot is the third one.
I think the holidays are beautiful, gift giving or not. Every family is allowed to make their own choices.
you know may reevaluate my Chanukah gift giving, because you are so right. Imlove anything that brings joy to little faces, and gifts do that. Now I’ve got to start planning for next year.
love it.totally get it. wish I would’ve felt more freedom to go wild over those eight special nights when my kids were little. I worked so hard at not spending too much and they ended up with stuff they didn’t want, though, then again, candy was always a favorite. now that they’re teens, I get them lots of clothes and they still love candy, candy, candy.
Sounds like you had a great holiday. I agree with you, kids can be spoiled as long as they are getting taught the proper lessons and are respectful. Besides, it is all relative anyway. What I consider sparse would be considered excessive in many parts of the world.
Just catching up here. You make me feel sad that I was a bit of a Chanukah humbug this year. Still recovering from twins’ b’nei mitzvah and eldest’s birthday fell day before Chanukah. I’ll have to do better next year and put the celebration back into it. Thanks for the reminder.