With the start of a new family, we are able to start our own holiday traditions. We wanted to have a combination of traditions that we had growing up, but we also wanted to start our own as well. In addition, we are lucky in that we celebrate two “major” winter holidays with Christmas and Chanukkah. I say “major” in quotes because anyone that knows me well knows that Chanukkah isn’t a major holiday whatsoever in the Jewish religion. It was made big because of Christmas. In fact, in the grand scheme of holidays in the Jewish calendar, it barely (if at all) ranks.
Here’s a quick run-down of how we have celebrated Chanukkah and Chistmas pre-kids:
Chanukkah (also spelled Hanukkah, Hanukah, Chanukah, and many other variations)
- Visit Dory’s family for one of the nights of Chanukkah (usually the first night, if we can make it work)
- Light the menorah and say the blessings each night
- Eat latkes
- Play dreidel
- Get tired of playing dreidel after about 30-40 minutes of it and start cheating so the game finishes soon
- Stockings on the mantle
- Decorated tree
- Display of holiday cards
- On Christmas Eve, Dory gives Pat the traditional bayberry candles (something Pat has done since her childhood)
- Once the bayberry candles go out, everyone can go to sleep
- Dory and Kathleen pass out presents to each person on Christmas morning. Each person opens one present, going around the room until the last one is opened.
- Stockings on the mantle (small presents inside which are the last to be opened)
- Dory wears jingle bell socks that Tim’s mom gave her at one of her first Christmases with the Doyles. She makes a point to take extra steps to let the socks jingle even more than normal.
- Going around Richmond and Charlottesville to see the “tacky” lights around the cities
New (Additional) Traditions
- Daddy and Mommy (Tim and Dory) pick out an ornament for each child and hang it from their stocking.
- Each night, we open one more part of the advent calendar
- Pictures in front of the Christmas tree
- Tim and Dory’s present to each other is to fill each other’s stocking
- Buddy (our Elf on the Shelf) comes to visit after Thanksgiving
- Each child fills a Santa Sack with toys and clothes that are no longer used to give to other children. Santa will pick this up when he drops off the new toys.