Chanukah is coming, Chanukah is coming!
Let's be clear. Chanukah is not the Jewish version of Christmas, nor is it nearly as big a deal - or as much fun - as Christmas. But just like Christmas, Chanukah has its own traditions, ones that are meaningful & fun &, my favorite, delicious. So while the rest of the blogosphere is writing about trees & garlands & "Home Alone," I thought I'd share some Chanukah thoughts. Eight, to be exact.
- Let's start with the obvious: Yes, there are as many ways to spell this holiday's name as there are days to the holiday. Maybe more. I have opted to go with "Chanukah" for no real reason other than double K's border on Klan-like.
- My mother is making a Chanukah meal for me & Nathan tonight, even though the holiday doens't begin until tomorrow (she works Wednesday nights). Said meal will include a roasted chicken with potatoes, onions & carrots & a side of matzah ball soup - which is quite possibly my least favorite food on the planet, as I am firmly of the belief that it tastes like stomach acid.
- Speaking of Chanukah food, last year's Chanukah party blew all other Chanukah parties out of the parted waters (Jew joke, get it?!). What I wouldn't give for a second coming of Latkapocalypse...
- After a quick Twitter convo, one of my favorite Jewish musicians, the talented & hilarious @julieannsilver, sent me a free copy of her 2006 Chanukah album, "It's Chanukah Time." Of course, I love her even more for going with my preferred spelling. (P.S.: This in no ways means I've given up on N*SYNC's "Home for Christmas" or my newly acquired copy of Hanson's "Snowed In.")
- On a related note, to my knowledge there's no such thing as a good Chanukah movie. I do, however, own all four "Home Alone" movies. Yes, four, though only the first two are worth watching. And the fourth, if you're sick or snowed in. And even then, you should first watch "Elf" instead. Smiling's my favorite.
- My mom gave up on Chanukah decorations when I was still a preteen, finally admitting that classy Chanukah decorations are about as realistic as Barack Obama having an affair with Sarah Palin. Instead, she amassed an extensive collection of holiday-neutral decorations: snowmen! I put them up today & am in love. See also: desperately wishing I had a place of my own to decorate as I see fit.
- I still want a Christmas tree (& this post from last year is still one of my favorite I've ever written.) In the meantime, I'm swooning over the new menorah my uncle gave me, on the far left:
- Annnd finally: Though I love my new riding boots & the various other Chanukah gifts I've already received from friends & family, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone - Jewish, Christian, secular & otherwise - that the holiday season isn't just about consumerism. Rather, this is a time when we have the abundant opportunity to spread holiday cheer in the form of bettering the world. For starters, check out the Religious Action Center's Social Justice Chanukah Gift Guide, a guide to suggestions for gift-giving that will make the world a better place. Many of the suggestions are not Jewish-specific - from fair trade coffee to community supported agriculture (CSA) shares to a $10 donation to send an anti-malarial bed net to an African village, there are plenty of ideas applicable to people of all faiths & no faith alike. Whatever you celebrate, put some thought - & compassion - into your gift-giving this year.