Archive for November, 2010

Hanukkah Decorations, Who Knew?

I grew up in a household that was somewhere between reformed and orthodox. While that may seem an eclectic mix, in the broader world, it wasn’t: both my were parents Jewish, we all went to Hebrew school and some of us even day school. Needless to say, when it came to December holidays, it was Hanukkah pure and simple–no discussion of trees or bushes although I remember one year, I begged my parents for Christmas-type stockings–“NO.” I did hang an old pair of sweat socks on the mantle and filled it with my own store-bought candy. It was kind of fun but that has been my extent of Christmas involvement.

Last year, here at Challah Connection, we got some requests for items for interfaith families for their celebration of both Christmas and Hanukkah. I have to be honest, I was uncomfortable with the idea. But I came to realize that the truth in 2010 America is that many families are not like the one I grew up in or like the one I have (2 Jewish parents). We quickly got into gear and found some great products for these families. Why not? It brings joy and tradition to their holidays and that is the essence of Challah Connection.

This year, with the introduction of our first catalog, we dedicated one full page to “Chrismukkah,” a holiday best described as a melange of Hanukkah and Christmas traditions. The sales of these products have been astounding! It thrills us that we are providing ways for families to celebrate the holidays. (For any of you who disapprove of these products–and I know there are many–we feel that it is not our place to judge how people celebrate. We are helping people create lasting traditions and family memories, which is our mission.).

Hanukkah Ornament Tree

Hanukkah Ornament Tree with Christopher Radko

But wait…there’s more! Last month, I took a call from a loyal customer who told me that we were short changing our marketing efforts for “Chrismukkah” products. She told me that Jewish families also decorate their houses for Chanukah–not just interfaith or Christmas-celebrating famililes. I was a bit surprised by this given my own background. She explained that she grew up orthodox, her mother survived a concentration camp and that throughout her childhood, her house was filled with Hanukkah decorations. She went on to tell me that many of her Jewish friends also “decorate.” As I often do, I went to my own network of friends and asked about this “Hanukkah Decorating” phenomenon. Sure enough–lots of them do! She recommended some additional items to offer and introduced me to Christopher Radko, a company known for gorgeous blown glass ornaments and also told me about ornament stands. This was a whole new education for me! Last week, with all of the new merchandise in house, ready for a photo shoot I fell in love with the decorating tradition. I LOVE how all of these gorgeous ornaments look and look forward to having them hanging in my house throughout Hanukkah–maybe all through December! How about you–are you going to be “decorating?” Please leave a comment and let us know!!

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The Mom Network—A Network of Super Powered Women

My 20 year old, Sam, is currently planning his senior year living arrangements. He is attempting to secure the perfect housing for him and his best buds, for their last year of college.

All was going swimmingly well for him, the independent kid that he is, until I got a call from the Mom of one of his friends. This Mom is particularly knowledgeable about the college town where the school is because 1) she lives 1.5 hours away vs. me who lives 9 hours away and 2) her father in law and brother in law live in the town and have been providing her with pictures and inside “scoop” on the house. MH, as I’ll call her, called to let me know that she “has serious concerns about the boys living in this house.” Well, I had already figured that it was a dump given that 4 20 year olds were choosing it. But MH gave me more info that indeed had me worried. I quickly grasped what she was saying and was now just as concerned as she. Here’s what happened next through the eyes of Sam as posted on his blog,The Crackers. (Please note that Sam, an avid blogger gives names to all of the people in his posts. The house is question is “Green Solace.” My name, well chosen is “Challah Queen”):

I’m sitting at the drive through of Burger King with Donkey Kong and Cheese Stache when my phone buzzes. The Challah Queen: “not sure how I feel abt you living in the whore house.”

(To clarify, there is a “for rent to six whole students” sign which hangs off the porch of Green Solace, one which during homecoming became the brunt of a drunken alumni’s edit. In permanent red marker, he squiggled in an “R,” replacing the “L” in “whole.”)

Initially perplexed (and slightly disgruntled) as to how my mom acquired photographic evidence of the spell change, I immediately called her.

But I was not at all surprised when I learned the source of her information.

The following is why I am sharing this with you:

Readers, as you’ve probably deduced from personal experience, moms have super powers. They can gauge the emotions of their children with frightening precision; can locate their children as if from a satellite chart; and, perhaps worst of all, they are able to infiltrate agendas of their children with ease.

Even while being hundreds of miles away, The Challah Queen still knows what is going on in my life.

How do they always know?

Part of it is The Mom Network.

An intangible cradle of information which transmits from mother to mother. A pot luck supplied by a matriarchal ring unified by their children. (The term “book club” is really just a facade for an appropriate forum for discussion.)

All you Moms who are reading this: don’t you just love this? We ARE super powerful and even they know it! As I explained to my beloved child, we don’t try to be this way, it’s just part of the MOMDNA. It’s not about snooping for info or trying to thwart them, it’s just that when you give birth to these creatures, even when they separate and live hundreds or thousands of miles away, we are still so connected, so full of innate understanding (until they do something really ridiculous in which claim no lineage whatsoever, right?).

While the MOMDNA allows for our steroidal intuition, it is also, as Sam has deduced, the network of mom-sisters who give us solid intelligence that either supports our intuition or puts in into it’s proper place (sometimes our imaginations/fears DO get away from us). Long live the MOM Network and us Super Powering Moms!

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