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I would love to tell you all that we had some huge profound spiritual Hanukkah, but we didn’t. This has been a rough year for our family and the holiday season was just “off kilter.”
Instead of digging deep this year, we tried to just enjoy a family week. We did take time one night to read the story of Hanukkah but, sadly, there was no real deep spiritualness to the week. But we did have fun!
Here is how the week went.
We went about our day as always and around 6 PM one of the kids would turn on the electric Hanukkiah ( 9 branched Hanukkah menorah) twist in the bulb for that day and read the nights event from the Hanukkah Surprise Keepers.
A couple weeks ago, I happened across a five pack of small gingerbread houses at the store. Immediately I thought, “That would be great for one of the nights of Hanukkah!” We spent an hour decorating the gingerbread houses! It is always fun to “glue” them together and use candy and sprinkles to ”deck” them out! There was a lot of licking sticky fingers, sneaking candy décor, and laughter… happiness!
This night was a cozy quiet evening of hot coco and eating gingerbread houses by the “fire” while listening to Hanukkah music. After we finished our snack, we read the Hanukkah story.
My family can identify to a small degree with the Maccabees resisting assimilation into a different culture. Growing up doing what everyone else does in the mainstream world was easy, pulling away from it is very hard! We have to stand strong against the temptations that the world dangles in front of us. This time of year is the particularly difficult because there is Santa and reindeer, trees and mistletoe everywhere you look. Several years ago, we felt spiritually drawn to live a more Biblical lifestyle, so we have no part of these traditions anymore. So, just as the Maccabees had to resist the Greek influence in their day, we are trying to pull out of the same influences that are imbedded in our American culture. Our battle is spiritual, emotional, and moral… we too, have to tear down the idols we have set up in our Temple of God. (1 Corinthians 3:16) and dedicate it back to God and not to the world. So even if the week was not super spiritual, it does make you take a long look at the “idol like” things in your life that could and should be tore down. Frequent introspection of ones self is necessary!
We enjoyed the evening playing the dreidel board game “Maccabees.” It is a fun game where you spin a dreidel to see how many spaces you move, await ambushes where you have “spin offs,” and earn oil for your menorah. First one to get all eight oil lamps wins! Congrats to my oldest… he is our reining dreidel champ!
We give gifts on Hanukkah but only a few and not on any particular day, just when ever it works best for us, usually on the weekend. We give them something to “play” with (this year was BB pistols), a tub of their favorite snacks (cotton candy, chocolate, beef jerky, chips, gum, suckers…) and one gift that is directed towards their current interest, which my oldest is interested in animation so we bought him the Anime Studio Debut 10 program, my daughter is into sketching so we bought her a sketching kit, and books, and my youngest son is into wood working so we bought him a Gyros Rotary Tool! We don’t want to spend tons of money on gifts but we do want the “biggest” gift to be an investment in our children.
Fifth & Sixth Day…
As far back as I can remember during the holiday season it was a tradition in our house to make cutout Cinnamon Holiday Cookies! We used our Hanukkah cookie cutters and snowflake cutters to make a wintery Hanukkah array of cookies! One somewhat strange thing we always did in my home growing up, was mom would take the last bit of dough and roll it out and take our hand, lay it gently on the dough and using a knife cut the dough out in the shape of our hand! We always saved our beloved “Cookie Hand” to munch on Christmas eve.” Now I carry that memory and tradition on with my own children and save the Cookie Hand for the last day of Hanukkah!!
We baked cookies one day and decorated them the next! I used this Cream Cheese Glaze for the icing! So yummy!! The kids spend the most time on their “hand cookies” making sure they are very iced!! Then we decorate menorahs, dreidels, candles, snowflakes, and Bible cookies… all to yummy perfection! Thankfully the cookies themselves are not super sweet because the icing makes up for it in sugar content!!
We always enjoy doing crafts, as my kids grow so must the crafts! This year we attempted to make Hanukkah Bear “Mason Jar” Snow Globes! We had a bit of difficulty making them at first but in the end, they worked out just fine! They are super cute setting on my shelf!!
The final night of Hanukkah, I invited my family (mom, sisters & their families) over to join us for food and family game night! We cooked fajitas, had snacks, played games, and laughed a ton!!
I am thankful for a week of fun and family time, for the love and laughter, for the chance to have traditions and holidays that doesn’t make me feel super worldly. I am thankful for the Maccabees standing strong against Greek assimilation and inspiring us to do the same!
Happy Hanukkah from our family to yours!!
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Posted on December 28, 2014, in Celebrate, Faith, Family, Family Fun, Hebrew Roots, My Journal and tagged Hanukkah. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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