It's the first night of Hanukkah, and although it is a minor holiday in the realm of Jewish holidays it has continued to gain importance because of its proximity to Christmas. We've talked a bit about the holiday; its origins and meaning. We've read some children's books, and pulled out the menorah in the past week or so. The kids are primed for the holiday and not a moment too soon since the Christmas lights are beginning to multiply like rabbits and take us sweeping past all of December in the blink of an eye.
We began the day opening some gifts from grandma. Although I'd prefer to wait until the candle lighting, I knew there was a craft menorah in there and wanted to give Peanut a chance to make it before the evening. Of course, that meant we had three menorahs - the fancy one I've had for 15+ years, the egg carton one we made last year and the new one from today. A Hanukkah trifecta.
Next we put together a little Happy Hanukkah banner - really anything with glitter glue is a hit around here. It may seem like a silly craft, but I liked that we could talk about letters and words, do a little eye hand coordination "sewing" the letters onto the cord, and have both kids put the stickers on and choose where to hang it up. We already have a few Hanukkah "ornaments" hanging from our dining room chandelier which I have always thought is pretty funny since there is no Hanukkah tree to put them on. Clearly an non-Jew came up with that plan.
After playgroup this morning, Peanut was able to carve out some time to paint her new menorah and add some glitter to that as well. Of course the painting continued until her arms and hands were covered with paint to her elbows. My sensory queen :)
Once everyone was home this evening, we lit the candles, said the prayers, and immediately Peanut wanted to sing and blow the candles out. We talked a little more about the candles and why we let them burn rather than blowing them out. I cooked up a fried meal of breaded cod, potato latkes with applesauce, and some random veggies. Since we celebrate the miracle of light this holiday, you are supposed to eat foods made with oil in remembrance of the oil that lit the lamps in the temple for 8 days.
All in all , a good first night! Both kids read more Hanukkah books before bed and seemed to enjoy the whole thing. The current plan is to keep the focus on this holiday through it's end next week. Then next weekend we will turn to Solstice and Christmas. Hopefully was can make it that long! I have to say, I am please that Hanukkah is early this year as it is really helping us to keep our head in one direction. Last year Christmas and Hanukkah were a day apart and it was confusing for me, not to mention a two year old. Happy Hanukah!!!