One of the things that a lot of parents (including me and my wife) have been talking about the last few days has been Hanukkah and our kids’ expectation for presents. People have a lot of different customs and approaches to the subject. Some families we know don’t do presents at all on Hanukkah. Most do. Some do one small present every night. Some do just one big one on one night.
As I was talking with our PTJL class before class this Sunday, some of us were lamenting the way that this season can become all about commercialized merchandise, feeding our kids’ all too easily aroused feelings of “I want! I need! My friends are getting (fill in the blank…)!”
As it turned out, the class we were about to start was on Tzedakah, charity and giving. It was a perfect time to bring up all these questions. A lot of ideas and stories were shared around the table. A few people had thought up great ideas such as taking one night of Hanukkah and, instead of all the kids getting a present, they’d all contribute to buying a present for a child in need. In our family this year we’re having a variety of nights, including one where our kids don’t get a physical present but get a special play date with someone they don’t get to see often. We’ve talked about a night when everyone shares a story.
Our kids are still looking forward to their presents, but there’s a lot room for creativity when you’ve got eight nights to work with!