We Jews have so many holidays that it’s hard to get too excited about any one, but Chanukah has been put on a pedestal by many as if to say: “Hey, we have a holiday where it’s snowy and bright, too! We get presents, too. Yeah, we even light candles!! See? Chanukah is awesome. It’s SO awesome, even more awesome than…”
The truth is that Chanukah is a pretty minor holiday as Jewish holidays go, but it’s a really great holiday. Despite the fact that we’re remembering a horrible war where our synagogues were destroyed by some major Anti-Semites, we manage to have a pretty amazing celebration that lasts eight glorious nights.
Regardless, it’s hard to be a Jewish parent in a country that mostly celebrates Christmas. Many Jews are offended when people automatically assume and say “Merry Christmas!” as a greeting without considering the fact that others don’t celebrate.
And as hard as it is to be a Jewish parent, it’s even harder to be a Jewish kid around Christmastime, i.e. being surrounded by others who have Christmas trees and lots of presents (and are expecting more from a man in a big red suit). It’s also tough to try not to equate Chanukah with Christmas.
I really want my kids to grow up knowing how amazing Chanukah can be. Even though we’ll likely celebrate Christmas most years, too, I don’t want them thinking that it’s a lame holiday that happens to fall near Christmas, or conversely, another excuse to get presents.
I decided to ask my niece and nephew about their favorite parts of Chanukah and they came up with lots of them!
Do you have any more reasons to add?
Chanukah cover: Flickr/scazon
Menorah fire: Flickr/RonAlmog
Pattern Menorah: Flickr/slgckgc
Jelly Donuts: Flickr/Photos by Mavis
Singing: Flickr/Jewish Agency For Israel