Getting Ready for Hanukkah

It is my understanding that many people do not know much about Hanukkah and that they are quite curious how it is celebrated in someone's home. These are some of the questions I get and the answers I give. If you want to know more, I'll include some links to help you out.

1. Do your kids get Christmas presents?
Nope. We do not usually celebrate Christmas. If we go to Geoff's mom or dad's for Christmas, then they will get Christmas presents then. But at our house, we don't usually do Christmas.
2. Do you guys decorate/put up a Christmas tree?
I love to decorate! However, we usually do a winter decoration of some kind, but not for Christmas specifically. We have done a Christmas tree before and I own a LOT of ornaments and twinkle lights. I happen to really love the smell of Christmas trees and really like the look, but they do not go up for the Christmas holiday. If we have them it is for fun only. But, target certainly gets in the holiday spirit for us! Giving us a whole 10 feet of an aisle...check it out:

3. Do your kids get 8 BIG presents?
No way! I do not have enough money for 8 BIG presents and it is 100% not what the holiday of Hanukkah is about. Hanukkah is more about being thankful for what you have and celebrating those things. In fact, Purim, a spring holiday that goes with the story of Ester, was the original gift giving holiday of the Jewish faith. Here's a picture of our buffet with all the presents I had finished wrapping after Thanksgiving.
By Saturday, I had this:

4. What exactly is that light/candle thing for?
The light/candle thing, is called a menorah. It represents the oil lamp from the synangogue that was destroyed by the Greeks. The Macabees, Jewish Soldiers, fought to defend it. In each synanagogue there is a lamp above the Torah scrolls and it represents the eternal light. In the synanagogue destroyed by the Greeks, the people could only find enough unspilled oil to last 1 day/night. When they put it in the lamp, it lasted for 8 days/nights. So we celebrate that with a menorah that has 8 lights. We have a special one, called a Shamesh, that sits up taller than the other 8. It is the leader. 
5. How do you guys do presents?
Geoff and I get the kids presents and they do usually end up with 8 things to open, but some nights are definitely bigger than others. Which is TOTALLY fine with me.

6. Why don't you celebrate Christmas; Jesus was Jewish?
7. Do you decorate?
I love to decorate! Since I do a lot of sewing, which you can purchase at I love to make things for our house too! Like my dish towel? I'm working on making a bunting banner and a table cloth for the house; once those are done, I'll share them too!

8. Why the potato things?
The holiday is the celebration of oil. We make potato pancakes that get fried, in oil. For some, the whole holiday is about the celebration of oil and they only eat fried foods for their first nite dinner. (We are not that way.) Some others do donuts. We'll make latkes and have dinner and a few friends over. I'll share that in another post.

I hope that I have answered some of your questions :)

Happy Hannukkah!

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