We love a good Chanukah celebration in our family. Let’s face it, we find reasons to celebrate life every day! When our children were young, it was tough to celebrate Chanukah each night if it coincided with school nights, but celebrate it we did. Homework in between latkes and sufganiyot, a fast game of dreidel and opening a present. Not ideal, but doable. We loved it when Chanukah fell on winter break.
I remember one year, in a packed auditorium at religious school, the speaker asked the children, “Who knows what the miracle of Chanukah is?” My son’s hand shot into the air and he was called upon. I was so proud. He announced, “The miracle of Chanukah is if my Mom fries food! It’s not healthy.” Everyone roared with laughter and I nearly fell through the floor.
As our family grew, one gift per person per night became a bit much, even though the gifts were never extravagant. We changed it up. Each person had his or her own night to choose what dinner we made, to receive gifts, so that all of the other nights were about giving and enjoying watching others receive, and choosing what the family would do together. We helped cook and served at a shelter, watched movies, played games, did art projects, painted Chanukah sweatshirts for the family, made blankets, etc.
Our family continues to grow and we’re finding new and traditional ways to celebrate.
Happy Chanukah to all!
Terry Segal writes a regular column, New Moon Meditations, for the AJT. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist.