All I want for Hanukkah is…

Jewish mothers, step right up and be heard if you, like me, suffer from Christmas envy. Come on, you’ve seen the ads on TV at that time of the year. Women in pink robes unwrapping gifts by the fireside, a steaming mug of cocoa nearby. There’s usually a diamond pendant or maybe a really nice cashmere sweater. The music alone on these commercials is enough to make you sob with envy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for these women, being honored by their families, and celebrating their holiday. Good for them!

It’s just…Hanukkah in my family has always been about the kids. Eight nights times three kids…I don’t need to do the math. I’m pretty sure it’s engraved on my brain. Even if we do simple gifts for seven of those nights, I’ve always wanted to mark each night with something special. For them.

Now, let me just add that I have sons. For those of you with daughters out there, it may be a different story. But for me, there hasn’t really been a Hanukkah where I have sat with a mug of cocoa. It’s more likely that I’ll be standing in with a spatula. Yelling. As in, “How many latkes can one person eat, Harry?”

I have never unwrapped a cashmere sweater under a tree or even nearby my Ficus plant.

Since my boys are now 19, 17, and 13, and since we live in an eco-friendly household where a daily attempt is made to keep trash to a minimum, we don’t really wrap presents anyway.

And over the years, my husband has given me many wonderful presents (thanks, dear!).

So if I don’t want a nice big box covered in wrapping paper, what do I want?

As I am pondering this question, my youngest son Mike comes crashing into the room, home from school. He’s so excited about something I can barely understand what he’s saying. He jumps up and down. Finally he calms down enough so that I can make out what he’s saying.

He got a part in the play.

And I got the answer to my question.

I guess (sigh) that’s what all mothers–Jewish and Christian and Muslim–want. A look of joy on her child’s face.

Hope today brings you and your family some joy,


Mike, our budding actor, in Anything Goes



  1. Helen Said,

    October 28, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    That was such a great story! I know how you feel every winter I feel green with envy at what I see on the commercials. But your right, we just want to see the expression on our child’s face when he is happy. Loved that picture!

  2. Janet Said,

    October 28, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

    Jane, that is so moving and funny. It expresses nicely the real joys of living. Very well said.

  3. Jane Said,

    October 29, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    I can absolutely relate to this story as someone who converted to Judaism. I have no regrets…but those commercials sometimes get to me…!!

    FYI..I don’t think X-mas is always so “picture perfect” for the Moms celebrating Christmas.

  4. Michaela Said,

    October 29, 2009 @ 11:56 am

    As a gentile mom — I’ve always envied the Hannukah moms — they have eight nights to get it right! I’ve got to make Christmas morning perfect, no do overs!

  5. Rima Said,

    October 29, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    I don’t have Christmas envy at all. Hanukah, latkes and dreidels are in my sweet memories. But having sons who are healthy, happy and kind. . . these surely are the greatest gifts which I wish for each and every day. Hanukah is the festival of lights. I must confess, my boys and my husband, they are the light in my life.

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