I can resist, or I can go with the flow of Chanukah this year. I looked up when Chanukah was this year, and I was very disappointed. Chanukah goes by the Lunar calendar and changes every year. This year it began on Thursday December 7th and will end on Friday afternoon December 15th. Seth was away on December 7th, so he didn’t even get to do the first night with us. This was a first and I was unhappy about this. I am trying so hard to just go with the flow of life. He had a work trip, and he was leaving the event early to be home for the second night.
Not only was Seth away, but my kids also have school, homework and activities all during Chanukah. Could they skip their activities? Yes, they can, but they don’t want to. I also can’t control the teacher’s giving homework and tests during Chanukah. Lillie was busy studying for a social studies test last night.
We are trying to proceed as normal AND fit in some Chanukah magic into each evening.
Night one we lit the menorah and did a few little gifts without Seth.
Night two we were excited Seth was back and we lit the menorah, gave them big gifts and played the dreidel game. Note that this was after Lillie’s dance classes at 8:00 at night.
Night three we welcomed family and Seth’s mom, Stepdad and Aunt joined us for some celebrating.
Night four we ventured to my parents’ house to celebrate Chanukah and my mom’s birthday.
Night five we squeezed in the blessings, presents and some edible menorahs and dreidels around all their homework.
Tonight, I have some gingerbread houses to add to the festivities if the kids have time.
Tomorrow, I have some Chanukah crafts for the kids if they have time.
The last night we will have them finish opening all their gifts and will discuss the giving side of Chanukah. We like to pick a charity every year to donate to so we will discuss and decide as a family on the last night. The blessings on the last night are my favorite because 9 candles on each menorah is so pretty.
Chanukah won’t end there! We still have more family and friends to celebrate with. You can hear the annoyance as I try to fit in Chanukah around everything else. Life doesn’t stop for any Chanukah celebrating. It’s not like Christmas at all when the world stops, and everything closes. Teachers don’t even consider giving less homework or not having tests during Chanukah. I can get really frustrated or I can look at this differently:
Next year Chanukah is over the school break, and I can’t wait. That will be so much more fun!
We are still celebrating and fitting it in. It is good enough.
I can set myself to be upset or I can adjust my expectations and look at the good points. The biggest thing is that we say the blessings every night and spend some time together as a family.
My advice to myself and all of you this holiday season:
Lower your expectations.
Put less pressure on yourself.
Involve family and friends.
Remember the meaning of the holiday. Just being together is what it is all about.
Little things go a long way. My friend brought me a $2.00 Chanukah mat and I love it. You don’t need to spend a lot and you don’t need to do a lot.
Don’t spend as much as I did. Oops.
Teach our children to give. I love it when they buy gifts for each other and give to friends and charities. I love that my daughter picked stuff out for me.
Find a way to enjoy the journey and feel less pressure and more joy.
Take some time for yourself and take care of yourself. Keep the exercise routine. Keep eating healthy food. Keep getting enough sleep. My friend tends to get rid of sleep when she has too much to do and that’s not good for her. We want to be healthy for the holidays.
Say no when needed or adjust things to work better for you.
No guilt this holiday season. Whatever you do is good enough. You are good enough.
Five successful nights of Chanukah so far and three more nights to go. I’ve been having positive self-talk through most of my Chanukah journey. Every time I get aggravated, I reframe to things like, “There is not a time requirement. Chanukah doesn’t have to take all night.”
The mornings with Lillie have been rough. I think Chanukah is tiring her and I both out. I can do it. I can bring the magic for three more nights. I can handle Lillie (Can Seth go in to work later and deal with her? Lol). My kids will look back on Chanukah with fondness and will hopefully carry on traditions with their children. That’s what this is all about. Making memories. Making magic.
P.S. It doesn’t matter how you spell it:
Chanukah or Hanukkah.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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