Hanukkah is now over and we have a bunch of new toys and really great memories to show for it. As per tradition, our little family of four lit the menorah every night, said the blessings, and opened presents. I won't bore you with photos from every night, but here are a few highlights.
Arguably, though, the best part of Hanukkah came last Friday night when we gathered with my whole family (including my uncle, aunt, cousin, and her husband and baby and another cousin of mine who is currently living nearby) at my parents' house for our annual Hanukkah party. I remember doing this as a kid at my grandmother's house and being absolutely gobsmacked at all the presents greeting me when I got there. That excitement coupled with the fun of being with my cousins and other loved ones for a night of food and fun are some of my favorite childhood memories. We have kept up the tradition over the years, but honestly, our Hanukkah parties were kind of lacking excitement until the next generation arrived. Watching Colton and Levi the night of our Hanukkah party was a really great feeling, as I could see my boys enjoying Hanukkah the way I used to (and now do again!).
Of course, the presents were exciting but to me, this picture is Hanukkah. Levi's look of fascination as he watches the menorah being lit. My dad holding Colton's hand and helping him light the candles. My cousin and her baby watching on. All the yarmulkes, including the one Colton is wearing which is from Josh and my wedding. Oy vey, I swoon!
I also fulfilled my promise to myself and managed to include a bit of Hanukkah fun (although not as much as I would have liked) over the week.
We played dreidel.
And made/ate a cupcake menorrah (no, I didn't let them eat all the cupcakes...just one each).
And, of course, we ate latkes...although neither boy cared for them!
Although I'm fairly certain the presents had a great deal to do with it, I am thrilled that my boys were genuinely excited about Hanukkah each night. Colton learned the blessing. They sang Hanukkah songs. Levi learned the words "menorah" and "Hanukkah" and pointed out menorahs whenever we saw them (which was pretty much only at the JCC, but he would see a few there each time!).
Let's face it. Hanukkah can't compete with Christmas. It's not as glamorous, or magical, or fun. But it's a holiday I've celebrated my whole life with traditions that I am proud to now pass down to my sons...and some new ones I'm happy to be trying out. And for now, at least, my boys don't seem to realize for a second that Hanukkah plays second fiddle. Guess we can rule those eight crazy nights a success!