Chanukah in Full Swing

Tuesday was the first candle and tonight will be our third. The recurring question I’ve heard is “how can we cut back on the materialism?” At this point you have the season in full swing and probably many gifts purchased and/or received. It’s still not to late to give you and yours some great memories that have nothing to do with “stuff.”

TONIGHT how about lighting the chanukiah, letting the kids open one present and then break out the board games. A dear friend gave me a domino set for my birthday. I’d never played dominos before. It’s a simple game, engages your mind just enough to have fun but not so much that you can’t talk through the game. Pop some corn or make some cookies. Then clear the kitchen table and pull out some games. My grandmother used to play Solitaire with us – yes the kind with cards! I can’t see a deck of cards and not think about my Grandma Teri and see her laughing so hard that tears ran down her cheeks. Give yourself and your kids some memories. Chances are they won’t remember the gift they open tonight, but they will remember your face over the board of Monopoly or Life or four-way Solitaire!

Temple Isaiah made these suggestions to their congregants:

8 Things to do to Brighten Your Chanukah Celebration:
1. Each night, dedicate a candle to a special value: peace, patience, love, tzedakah, environmental protection, justice, study/Torah, generosity, hospitality, etc. Talk about ways to make that value come alive in your family- ways to bring light to the darkness.
2. Instead of giving gifts one night, go out and buy a gift for a child attending Winter Nights. Bring the unwrapped gift to “got Shabbat?” on Friday.
3. Make decorations or a new Chanukiayah for your home and save them from year to year.
4. In celebration of the Festival of Lights, install a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) each night of Chanukah.
5. Choose a Chanukah Mitzvah and do it as a family: serve in a soup kitchen; collect food and/or warm clothes for the needy; write to congresspeople about Darfur, etc.
6. In addition to gifts, give “blessings” to one another: “May God bless us always with as much happiness and love as we feel at this moment…”
7. Invite over another family to make Latkas, sing songs and make up a new Chanukah story with paper bag dramatics.
8. Come to “got Shabbat? Chanukah edition” on Friday night, the latka dinners and Rick Recht Concert on Saturday. See the Temple Isaiah website for details (*