Don't groan! Here's another one of my stories that sort of begins with, "When I was a kid. . ."
I had a couple of slightly mixed-up, vaguely irreligious parents. My mum was what she would call a Humanist, but I would call her a Spiritualist. My Dad really only began practicing Judaism as an adult, but we celebrated the usual, Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, etc.
So we had Christmas AND Hanukkah celebrations, which continued after Colin and I got together and had our small, but still boatload, of kids. Nowadays, there's an all-encompassing name for the "8 crazy nights of small presents and 1 day of big ones" holiday for all of us who grew up confused, searching for the real meaning of the mid-winter holidays and wondering if we would be horribly punished for imagining a delectable supper of Christmas ham, after our latkes with applesauce and sour cream for lunch. It's Chrismukkah, and everyone at our house is happy to celebrate, no matter exactly the firmness of individual belief.
Almost 20 years ago, I met Lisa Hoffman
and we became fast friends. Early in our friendship, we began the swell tradition of Hanukkah "baskets" for each other
. I mean, they weren't (aren't) always baskets per se, but that's what we call them. Container, bag, whatever, the point is, 8 gifts!!!!!!!! Plus 1 for Christmas! Plus, one or two some little something(s) extra, for fillip.
But just for us, girly stuff, fun stuff, varying every year, sometimes with a theme, others, totally random. Some years the gifties are more precious because means were a bit scarce. Occasionally we have delighted in a flourish of extravagance. But since we began our tradition, we have never missed a single year, no matter what. (Have we, Leese?) Of course, there was the year I drank quite a fair amount of some delicious bubbly at our family's holiday party and, cheered on by some very bad, supposedly adult
children, I opened all 8 in less than an hour, and Colin lectured that I deserved my remorse. . .
But that's in the past and will never, well maybe once or twice more, but only under extreme duress, happen again.
Wow! Hanukkah sure came early this year, but it's so lovely to light the lights in the early dark of a winter's night. Lisa came over this morning with an ammmaaaaaaazzzzing Harajuku Lovers tote, filled with pretty pink packages. She made me swear on my mother's grave I will give it back to her if I ever get tired of it. I said not likely, even if I'm lucky enough to see 90, I will still need a way to carry all my crap!
Then we started what could very well be a new tradition, with variations on the theme of course. We watched (in the middle of a Tuesday morning!
) The Best Chrismakkuh Ever from Season 1 of The OC
, one of my secret television addictions
So that's my story - the photos above are the vintage Fifth Avenue hat box into which I stuffed all of Lisa's treats this year. The cool ornament you see tied to the white package with red ribbon? That was made by the very clever Jenn Gordon
of Stiletto Heights fame, proof that I really meant it in the sidebar when I said I buy HANDMADE! So thanx, Jenn, for helping me out so much on several sweet gift-giving occasions this year. The photo below is what Lisa brought, I think some of you may be jealous when you see it.
So, to everyone out there, reading this (or not) may all YOUR
holidays be bright
Quick! Light the Candles!!!
I don’t mean to freak you out or anything, but Hanukkah starts at SUNDOWN TONIGHT this year. Early, right? Seems like it.
I’m telling you this because my friend Sarah Fishburn
and I have decided to Co-Blog and tell you about our tradition, how and why it started.
We were discussing how much we loved and valued this “thing” that we do and how others may appreciate starting their own version. Okay, here’s how it goes:
Sarah and I became friends about 18 years ago, just a few months after my young husband passed away leaving me a widow at 33 with a 5 year old and a very busy business. Sarah and Colin were in the throes of raising a family that included 4 very bright (and also: Busy) kids in addition to their own jobs. Sarah and I were discussing what we were getting for the kids for Hanukkah and the fact that although we ourselves busted our humps to work AND get the gift scene in order, who ever bothered about us? …that’s when the light snapped on: We would give each other Hanukkah Baskets filled with one gift for our Darling friend to open each night!
Here’s why this is Genius:
*The obvious reason: your pal gets to feel loved and nurtured, as well as having their own gifts to open
*You can “shop” all year. This may involve simply making one extra of whatever cool gifts you’re making for someone else throughout the year.
*A great gift only has to be perfect for that person, not a big cash outlay.
If you’re like US, you and your pal have very similar taste. The next time that you buy that book, cd, dvd or magazine, get TWO. Before you know it, the 8 (well, usually 8 PLUS) gifts are there waiting for nothing but a creative wrap and your LOVE.
*Since Sarah and I are BOTH big Purse/tote/bag fans (we almost NEVER accept a plastic bag at any store) we try to get a great bag to put all of the stuff in. We still call it our Hanukkah “Baskets” but that’s cause we just DO. Some years this doesn’t happen so we’ll just take a paper gift bag, decorate the Be-Jebbies out of it and there ya go!
Now, allow me to say that those of you who never get gifts from your kids….
Are you KIDDING ME???!!!
Once again, this is about Creativity and Love. Hell, tell your hubby, sister, BFF, neighbor….to take them shopping. By the same token, if you KNOW a tired Mom, especially but not limited to Single, for Heavens sake, be SURE that the kids buy/make her SOMETHING. You’re teaching them the value of thinking about OTHER PEOPLE THAT THEY LOVE. Check in advance, not at the last minute. By the way, this ALL applies to Daddies too. Sometimes they get the short end of the stick.
So. That’s our story. Every year the ONE thing that Sarah and I can count on is each other. This tradition is SO very important to us.
Thanks for listening. Maybe this will motivate you and YOUR BFF to start something for each other. I’m betting that YOU are a great example of giving and thoughtfulness. Time to allow other people to experience the joy of giving….to YOU.
Happy Hanukkah and soon?....Christmas, Kwanza and probably numerous other great Holidays.
If this sounded a little “Preachy” that’s because IT IS. Sarah and I want everyone to feel nurtured and we have found this to be a simple and powerful tradition.
So, Happy Night #1…
Lisa and Sarah