acebauer (acebauer) wrote,

Dreidle, dreidle, dreidle

It took kids for me to like Hanukah.  We never did much by way of presents---that was reserved for Christmas (I come from a family that celebrates many traditions). It wasn't the songs---please, not the songs. And it certainly wasn't the dreidle game---which put everyone to sleep.

It was the candles.

There's something wonderful about candlelight in the dead of winter. (Okay, this week, it's the end of autumn, but it's certainly dark enough to feel like winter.) When the kids were little, we lit the candles, one night after another, and you could see the excitement mount as the menorah filled. We'd light them before dinner and watch them burn, commenting on each one's progress. It's totally corny, but my kids, accustomed as they were to electricity, marveled at these flickering lights.

The holiday itself, quite frankly, is minor. The only reason non-Jews know about it is that it usually lands around Christmas, and non-Christians are completely overwhelmed by the non-stop Christmas, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!  that's blasted at us this time of year. Hanukah became a defensive mechanism. Sure you have bright decorations carpet bombed everywhere, gorgeous trees, inspired music, colorfully wrapped gifts, weeks of feasting, feel good stories and movies, and one heck of a religious service. We have---uh---menorahs, silly songs, token gifts (for 8 days!), latkes and doughnuts, and the occasional TV special.


The fact is, with its over-the-top celebration, nothing in the West can compete with Christmas.

But when you stop trying to compete, you notice what you do have. A perfectly lovely minor holiday, with beautiful candles.
Tags: real life

  • Moving

    I will not longer be using this space for my blog. For news and other bloggy things, come visit me at

  • I will be at Boskone 52

    I'm excited to announce that I will appearing be at this year’s Boskone, Friday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Westin Waterfront…

  • It's okay to write terrible stories

    Though this is about picture books, this holds true for all writing: It's Okay to Write Terrible Stories. (If you write, or wish to: go,…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded