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Eight Days of Lights

The first night of Chanukah is tonight, and this blogger looks back on the memories she had of the holidays growing up and the ones she hopes to create with her own family.

Tonight marks the start of Chanukah, which by any standard isn't the most significant of Jewish holidays but when you are 4 and a half, it certainly is. My kids will be overloaded with gifts this year—from their grandparents, aunt/uncle, extended family, babysitter and of course their mom and dad. Yet, their favorite things still continue to be activities like coloring and baking cookies (my daughter) and throwing a tennis ball to the dog (my son).

So why did I find myself fighting crowds at a very disorganized Toys R Us at 8 p.m. on a recent weeknight? Well, it seems that I, too, have gotten caught up with this holiday. 

As a young child growing up in a reform Jewish home, I distinctly remember my parents actually hanging a stocking above our fireplace (the horror!) and leaving out cookies & milk for Santa until I realized there was no Santa. Looking back, I realize that perhaps that was more because my parents wanted to eat the cookies but also probably to see the look of joy on my face on Christmas morning. I never had a Christmas tree or eggnog, but I definitely looked forward to waking up to see what Santa had brought me. 

While I won't go that far with my own family, I do look forward to the "traditional" Chanukah celebrations of lighting the candles for eight nights, saying the prayers (which I sure hope that three years of Jewish preschool have taught my daughter), eating latkes and watching my 4.5 and 1.5 year old tear open presents that they will no doubt love (for at least a day or two). I also hope this year will be the start of creating new memories and traditions that my kids will carry on with their families. (And the latkes aren't so bad, either!) 

What memories or traditions will you be creating or celebrating this holiday season?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa Buchman December 21, 2011 at 11:53 AM
I love creating traditions for my kids. I grew up in a Catholic home and relished every minute of my Santa-believing childhood. Now that I'm raising children with a Jewish husband and traditions, I get to create new traditions. We love singing (have you listened to the Bare Naked Ladies gorgeous song, Hanukah Blessings?) lighting candles and opening gifts. And making sufganiyot!
Lizzie Hedrick December 21, 2011 at 01:02 PM
My family's tradition is always to start singing "Rock of Ages" in Hebrew and then switch to English with the part that goes, "Furious they assailed us..." You'd think after 25 years, we'd have learned the words. (Or at lease bought a transliterated song book).
Mimi December 21, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Jewish holidays begin at sundown. Today, Dec. 21, is the first day of Chanukah. But the first night - when the first candle is lit - was last night, Dec. 20.
Lizzie Hedrick December 21, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Thanks, Mimi, for the clarification.

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