well, it’s that time of year again. it’s december and the tornado that is hannukahmas has begun at my house. the dates of hanukkah are actually determined by the hebrew calendar, so this puppy moves all over the place, and it can fall anywhere between late november to late december.
hanukkah came early this year, which is actually good, because when hanukkah and christmas coincide i pretty much suffer from chest pains for the entire month of december. there is only so much decorating and shopping and candle lighting and praying and cooking and
fun STRESS that i can handle at one time.
many people assume hanukkah is the “jewish christmas” but in fact, it is not. hanukkah is not really a major jewish holiday, but a minor one which celebrates a miracle in which god made one day’s worth of oil burn for 8 nights (he should do the same for my electronic bill).
somewhere along the way, the jews must have felt sorry for the little jewish kids who didn’t get a visit from santa claus and wanted to do something, but wanted to offer them an alternative which still preserved their “jewishness.” not to be outdone by the christians, they decided that instead of one big day, the jews would take hanukkah and turn it into christmas times 8.
i hear my neighbor’s kids asking my children, “wow! you get presents for eight nights? no way?! lucky! what a gyp!” so yes, we’ve managed to take our little holiday and make all the other neighborhood kids jealous. nicely played. every kid wants to be jewish during hanukkah.
anyway, the crazy thing is that because i was raised with santa coming to my house, i haven’t actually been able to go cold turkey… so it looks like hanukkah threw up all over christmas at my house. the place is a mish-mash of menorahs, dreidls, candles, gelt, mistletoe, wreaths, garland, stockings and miniature christmas trees all swathed in blue and silver tinsel, and twinkling blue and white lights in our front yard, accompanied by a giant 20-foot tall, blow-up figure, which features the holy trinity – santa, frosty and rudolph. and yes, my kids get gifts on christmas as well. so sue me.
personally, i have no inner conflict with celebrating both. show me where santa shows up bearing gifts along with the magi and i’ll gladly pull down that plastic yard art.
there’s just a warm fuzzy feeling i get each year as the holiday approaches that has to do with my childhood memories and that’s something i want to give my children, even if it’s only better behavior through guilt. as a child, i distinctly remember worrying about whether or not i had been good enough for santa’s annual visit. and the closer it got to christmas, the more my mom would play the santa card. apparently, the effects have lingered. i still worry.
i haven’t been a perfect girl this year, and i’ve even broken a few minor commandments (mostly of the coveting and taking the lord’s name in vain type). but overall, i think i’ve been pretty good and i’m hoping santa has something for me. and truthfully, the kid in me doesn’t really want to stop believing in the magic of the fat man in the red suit.
and if he decides i don’t deserve a stop, there’s always next year.