Monday, December 9, 2013

The eight nights of Hanukkah

This week, the menorah went down and the christmas tree went up. 'Tis the season! 

As I do every year, this month makes me really think about "needs" and "wants" and everything in between. I read recently that one of the critical steps in raising grateful children is to NOT give them everything they want. The holidays are a time of giving, right? But I guess everyone has their own definition of "giving" - for us, it comes in many forms... many small forms... many intangible forms... 

I want the girls to be grateful, not greedy... appreciative, not entitled... content, not needy. Thus far, I feel like we're doing a pretty good job. We continue to keep toys to a minimum, screen time and gadgets practically non-existent, and gifts that are about quality, not size and quantity. If I had to name one of Abby and Elise's greatest 5-year old strengths, it would be their ability to PLAY. They can play anywhere, anytime, with anything. Maybe some people think our children are deprived... I think they've been given the greatest gift of all: the gift of creativity. If they don't have a pretend loaf of bread to put in Dorothy's basket, they don't ask us to buy one - they used a paper towel roll. When Mary Poppins needed an umbrella, they didn't ask us to replace the broken one - they draped a doll blanket over the top of a drumstick, creating a perfectly-shaped closed umbrella. Poor, poor deprived children. 

Here's the Hanukkah gift rundown:
- Night one: 2 new Berenstain bear books each
- Night two: Sketch pad and set of colored pencils each
- Night three: Handmade nightgowns with a matching nightgown for their favorite bears (made by Gran with love)
- Night four: Lego building set each
- Night five: Sleeping bags from Gran and Grandpa
- Night six: Animal legos to go with the houses from night four
- Night seven: Dinner on the Plaza to see the lights
- Night eight: 1 Little House on the Prairie book each and a DVD of a Disney Little House on the Prairie mini-series

Our house doesn't look like a truckload of new toys was dumped inside of it. I'm not scrambling to find places to store all of the plastic. But I am enjoying watching them build, listening to them read, and snuggling on the living room floor for rest time in new sleeping bags. They have both asked if we can go to the Plaza again next year for Hanukkah, all of the new books have been read over and over and over again, and the coordinating bedtime attire is really damn cute. It was a great eight nights and I get the feeling the girls are grateful for each and every gift. 


  1. I love the intention that you put into raising grateful children. It seems so many parents don't. I don't have any children, so I really can't judge anyone's choices, but when I do have children, I hope to be as intentional as you.

    1. Thanks for visiting... and for your thoughts and kind words! Happiest of holidays to you - here's hoping you have much to be grateful for! - Erin