Eight days of presents!
This is the easiest way to sell Hanukkah to your children if they’re having a hard time missing out on the Christmas festivities. During Hanukkah, it’s customary to give gifts every night of the week, beginning and ending on “big” presents and giving little things in between. Husband and I have been known to give candy and dollar store items during the week to keep the gift-giving cheap while lavishing with big presents on the first and last nights. It gives you something to look forward to, and keeps the holiday fun from going by too quick the way that gift-exchanging can sometimes do on Christmas morning.
No holiday shopping rush!
Well, okay, there’s a little bit of the holiday shopping rush, but it works a little differently. The week of Hanukkah is different every year, which means sometimes Hanukkah overlaps Thanksgiving, and sometimes it overlaps Christmas, and sometimes it falls awkwardly in between. On a year that it takes place the first week of December, you don’t have to fight the last minute holiday rush at the mall. You can calmly do your shopping mid-November, and be happy and stress-free as a clam come Black Friday (but, like, why are clams so happy?).
Some people may have giant Christmas dinners. In my family, that wasn’t really a thing. There wasn’t a Christmas turkey or ham or whatever. There was frozen pizza (which I still do every year because I’m always off work and have nothing better to do than cook frozen pizza on Christmas), but that was about it. But during Hanukkah, the feasts are pretty significant. There are so many nights to celebrate with big meals! In my husband’s family, there’s always one night when we meet out at a restaurant and one night where my mother-in-law cooks a huge feast, and most of the in-between days, we treat ourselves with rich foods and candy from each other. It’s brilliant!
I realize that this might not seem like an upside to everyone. Some people love pulling their Christmas trees out of their garage and spending hours in the cold putting up Christmas lights, but while it’s always a little fun, it’s also a hassle, especially come the first of the year, when you have to take it all down and pack it back up. Some people might put up lights for Hanukkah, but the extent of the Hanukkah decorating is usually a menorah and some paper dreidels stapled to the walls. If you walk into a superstore like Wal-Mart of Target, there might be a tiny section with mini-menorahs and Star of David wrapping paper, but there’s not much in the way of Hanukkah decorating loot, so we mostly just don’t bother.
Every year, my mother-in-law pretty much buys me one dreidel for every day of Hanukkah, so by the end of the year, between Husband and me, we’re swimming in them, but if you’re looking for something to do, the dreidel game is actually a lot of fun! Everyone gets chocolate coins (gelt) to begin with, and when you spin the dreidel, depending on what side it lands on, you give gelt to other players, you get gelt from them, or you lose all your gelt. It’s almost like Left Right Center with candy, and on an otherwise boring post-holiday afternoon, it’s a great way to spend some extra family time!
Happy Hanukkah everyone!
P.S. This year, Hanukkah begins on Christmas Eve at sundown and ends at sundown on New Year’s Day. We get all the fun holidays mashed into ours!
What a fascinating look into another holiday. I've always wondered what happens during Hanukkah and I finally got a first-hand account. Thank you so much, Vicky! It was awesome having you on the blog today. Everyone, please make sure to check out Vicky's author info below and follow her.