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Happy Hanukkah

I’m not Jewish. I just play one on the internet.

No, really, I just think it’s important for my children to understand all celebrations. I can’t possibly cover them all but I’m trying to do the main ones this year. For us, that means Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

Tonight at sundown, we started our first night of Hanukkah. I have a Hanukkah tree, which isn’t exactly traditional but it does make for a good transition for my kids. This year, we hung our first ornament on it that specifically signifies the holiday. Otherwise it’s just a blue tree with silver stuff on it. Thanks to Marla from The Button Babe for the ornament!

Hubby made a menorah. He waited until the last minute and took until exactly sundown to finish it, but in the end, it was worth the wait. We used birthday candles because it was what we had. We started out with all of the candles in the menorah but I’ve since removed all but the Shamash and the first candle. Since tradition dictates that you’re supposed to leave the flame going for a while but birthday candles would turn into a puddle in a hurry, so we lit a regular candle with the Shamash as well, and left that lit for a while. It wasn’t exactly accurate but it was explained to the kids that it wasn’t the proper way to do it. It worked.

I found a nice, short description of what Hanukkah means online and then lost the page so I winged it. I got the point across anyway, and I lit the candles while kid 2 read the three blessings (in English, obviously).

Then I let the kids blow out the menorah’s candles (what kid doesn’t like birthday candles!?) and handed them their gelt bags, which contained a Nilla wafer tonight. Then I went into the kitchen to make latkes.

I think my favorite part of the night was the way hubby doesn’t even miss a beat. I say we’re celebrating Hanukkah and he doesn’t scoff. He doesn’t question me. He doesn’t laugh at me. In fact, he digs around on the fridge for a baby hat and does his best to try to wear something resembling a yamika. He’s as willing to learn as the kids, and I absolutely love that about him.

My other favorite part was that even with bickering kids, it felt peaceful. There was something calm about the night. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s just more acceptance on my part and understanding of another culture, or maybe it was something more. It was really nice, though.

I can’t wait for day two.

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