My good friend, Wendy, and her family have a tradition of doing something different to mark every night of Chanukah. From family craft projects to volunteering to having a party to baking banana bread and distributing it to the homeless to learning something new as a family (like rock climbing), I love the idea of making every night (or day) special AND creating traditions that aren’t about presents or about trying to make Chanukah into Christmas.
Every year, I ask Wendy for the list of what they do, but this and that happens and I haven’t acted on it until this year. I know that we’ll develop what we do as time goes by and LP grows. I love the sense of anticipation that happens around traditions…I’m already looking forward to next year’s lantern walk.
In thinking about what traditions I want to create for our family, I’ve focused on the theme of light…both literal (candles), cosmic (star watching) and metaphoric through our actions (giving to others).
This year we are:
*having a family Chanukah party on the first night with latkes, playing music and a few presents
*craft & cooking projects on the second night (soft dreidl decorated with fabric markers and a dreidl cake of LP’s own recipe)
*lantern walk around the neighborhood on the third night (we made the lanterns by gluing tissue paper on glass jars and putting tea lights in them, specific instructions here at SteadyMom)
*Shabbat, dreidl playing, singing and a few presents on the fourth night
*star watching picnic on the fifth night
*Making gifts for others on the sixth night (not sure what we’ll be making yet)
*put on a show together on the seventh night (and hopefully visiting a nursing home during the day)
*more music making and a few more presents on the eighth night
It is important to me that LP be able to enjoy Chanukah, have traditions to share with friends and also be able to share her friends’ Christmas traditions without envy. My parents gave me that gift growing up. I always loved Chanukah and how we celebrated AND it was comfortable and fun sharing in my friends’ Christmas traditions. We are living that sharing tradition this year as we had our annual Chanukah open house (pre-Chanukah this year because of the timing) and will attend a Christmas party on Christmas day.
Happy Holidays everyone! May you spend these days sharing light with those you love!
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