A few years ago, we were gifted an Elf on the Shelf. The first year, we just moved him around. The second year, Pinterest went crazy with ways to make him do naughty things. Since we didn’t actually “do Santa” in the traditional sense, it didn’t really jive with our values. Yes, I’m one of those nerdy moms that likes to talk about the historical importance of St. Nicholas versus telling my children that Santa Claus delivered their presents. I worked hard to buy those gifts and I want them to know their father and I bought them because we love them. Santa doesn’t get to claim credit for that!
For those that think our children aren’t allowed to enjoy the magic of the holidays, let me assure you that they do. They watch all the Christmas movies – the Santa Clause with Tim Allen is one of their faves – and they bake cookies, go to a huge light display, put together a gingerbread house, listen to Christmas music, and even go visit the big guy in the red suit each year at Bass Pro.
In addition to talking about the birth of Jesus, I wanted to add in some history about our ancestors – the Jews. Jesus was the King of Jews. Our first year, we read a few books about Hanukkah and I made a small traditional-ish Jewish feast – the Pioneer Woman’s oven brisket, red cabbage, latkes, and doughnuts! The following year, we added a menorah. If you’re looking for one, try Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. Be sure to get dripless candles. Trust me.
And now we do all of that plus a little something extra special each day of eight days of Hanukkah.
Some of the things my kids are doing on our eight days is painting a holiday canvas, doing chores to earn money for the Salvation Army kettles, going to a museum, and baking sugar cookies. Each morning when they wake up, they’re greeted to an envelope that tells them their fun activity for the day. They love our Hanukkah celebrations so much and I really feel like this tradition helps us tie their hearts to home.