Tag Archives: Jewish

A Refuge for Christmas Trees

During the polar vortex last week, someone’s discarded Christmas tree blew into our yard.

“Another one of those damn trees blew into our yard!” said my husband. “Should I save it?”

It’s not the first time a discarded Christmas tree has ended up in our yard. It’s very windy and flat in this part of Ohio and, for some reason, our trash people tell us to put large trash out on a certain day and then don’t pick it up until many days of wind later. Random stuff gets blown into our yard all too often.

Based on all the trees in other people’s driveways this week, it is tree pick-up week. We wouldn’t know. We’re Jewish. We don’t have or want a Christmas tree, yet Christmas trees keep migrating to our house. It’s as if they KNOW we neglected them in December. The Christmas trees think we are lonely for a Christmas tree.

Don’t worry, Christmas trees, we hang out with MANY of you at many locations other than our house in December. You guys are kind of unavoidable. Especially when you decide to throw yourselves at our house.

Last time a tree landed in our yard, my husband “saved” it by throwing it into our backyard because he didn’t know how to get rid of it. It sat in our yard until spring. It was about as lovely as the hate fence, but whatever, it was my husband’s “project”. It was up to him to finish “saving” that tree.

This time, he was slightly wiser and left the tree near the sidewalk where it might be claimed by whoever lost it.

Nobody rescued the Christmas tree.

A few days later, I moved the tree to where trash pick-up happens since everyone else still has trees hanging out in their driveways. I assume the polar vortex delayed tree pick-up for a week the way it delayed trash pick-up for a week? (And let me tell you how much fun THAT was!!!)

Now all my neighbors probably think I gave in to the temptation of Christmas and put up a tree this year, after I told everyone we would not be decorating.

NOPE! We didn’t have a Christmas tree. Other people’s Christmas trees just feel sorry for us.

Or something.

Gosh, I hope the trash guys pick that tree up soon… and don’t charge us extra for the pick-up. STOP VISITING US, TREES!

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Build-A-Bear Pony Hanukkah Conundrum

Hanukkah falls ridiculously early this year. It starts the night before Thanksgiving. So, two days before most people even start their holiday shopping, I’m supposed to be completely done with mine. There’s no Black Friday for Jews’ Hanukkah this year– although I suppose you could shop for the remaining 5 days, I prefer to be more prepared than that. I like to have all my gifts wrapped, labeled and ready to go on the first night of Hanukkah.

One particular Black Friday event has thrown a wrench in my gift-giving plans. The big girls are obsessed with My Little Ponies, and Build-A-Bear recently released a line of My Little Pony plushes, which they are slowly putting out on the market one pony at a time. The big girls already got Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle for the birthdays.

Pinkie Pie sold out at Build-A-Bear almost immediately from what I understand, and Lily was sad to learn that she would never have at home access to ALL the Build-A-Bear My Little Ponies. I hadn’t planned on getting her ALL of them because they are $$$$$, but apparently that was in her big plan. I was actually a little glad when I found out Pinkie Pie was sold out because it meant the set could never be complete and I wouldn’t have to secure all six ponies.

Well, that plan got destroyed. Build-A-Bear rereleased Pinkie Pie, but with a catch. You couldn’t make her in the store until Black Friday. I refuse to go to the mall on or around Black Friday. I hate crowds! Pinkie Pie was available online earlier, though, and I ordered her and received her shortly thereafter.

Now I was faced with the very annoying reality that I only had ONE pony to give to two (or three) girls at Hanukkah, but I decided they could share it until…

Build-A-Bear announced they were releasing Fluttershy. Great! Now I have a pony for each girl for Hanukkah. But wait. Wait!

Fluttershy isn’t available until Black Friday. You can not preorder her on the website. The only way I can get Fluttershy in time for Hanukkah if you consider shipping times is if I go to Build-A-Bear on or after Black Friday.

Oh yay.

I guess we’re stuck doing that, but it creates a whole new equal sister treatment problem. We already have one pre-stuffed pony. Who gets the unstuffed pony? Are we going to fight over who gets to make Fluttershy? Is it wrong to give one sister a stuffed pony and then take the other one to go make one herself?

I mean, what to do, right? I suppose I could go out to the mall (45 minutes away) by myself mid-Hanukkah to stuff Fluttershy by myself, but that’s time-consuming and also seems unfair. Or maybe I could buy a pre-stuffed one in the store? Or maybe the girls will be ok with sharing stuffing responsibilities? Or?

I also absolutely can’t make my mom the year-end photobook I usually make her for Hanukkah because I’d have to finish, oh, right now, and that’s seriously not close enough to year end.

You see what this early Hanukkah does to people? Or how Black Friday totally neglects Jewish people this year? I want Fluttershy right now and I need her for Jewish children, but nope. I can’t get her.

Thanks a lot, Build-A-Bear, Black Friday and the Jewish lunar calendar. Thanks a lot.

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Egg on Her Head

Even though we are Jewish, the Easter Bunny comes to our house. Even though Santa barely paid attention to me growing up, the Easter Bunny always did a great job hiding eggs and bringing candy. I think the bunny came through for us because my mom is such an animal nut. How could she not embrace the most animal of our holiday friends?

Interestingly, the Easter Bunny did NOT come to my husband’s house when he was a kid and he was raised Christian/Catholic (depends on the year). It’s sort of funny to me that I, the Jew, had more Easter traditions and memories than he did growing up!

Anyway, I let the bunny come. After all the hunting was done, Rose made a game with the eggs. She kept pretending the crack an egg open on her and the baby’s head. “I broke an egg on my head! I broke an egg on Violet’s head!”

I do this to her sometimes with my hands. I pretend like a raw egg is oozing over her hair. It was hilarious to see this reenacted with a plastic egg.

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Hanukkah Debates

It’s Hanukkah over here! “Right day” Hanukkah this year! If you weren’t around last year, we had to adjust the start date of Hanukkah last year to work around our travel schedule. This year, we have nowhere to be so we’re being more observant Jews this year by following the rules and sticking to the calendar.

The trouble I’m having with Hanukkah this year is deciding which nights we do what presents. It’s a lot of presents over a lot of nights. I try to keep things more affordable by buying them a fair amount of gifts from The Dollar Tree. Last year, $1 coloring books were one of the biggest hits. As exciting as Dollar Tree gifts are, I have trouble deciding which nights deserve cheap puzzles and coloring books and which nights deserve big ticket items like Legos.

Do you start out small and work your way up to the big ticket items? Or do you start out big and the rest of Hanukkah is junky? Do you alternate junky/amazing/junky/amazing? I can never decide.

Right now we’ve already done two big ticket items and I’m still not sure what I want to do. It’s way more of a dilemma than it should be. I just don’t know what I want to give these people! And more complicated is the fact that Santa comes and brings them a few token gifts because we celebrate Christmas with my husband’s Catholic family. What does Santa bring?

I know I’m overthinking it all, but man, it’s hard. Maybe I’ll just bring the pile down here and make them pick something at random. The thing is, many of the gifts have matching counterparts. So if one gift gets chosen, I should really give the other matching gift to the other sister. So then which sister gets to decide?

So much confusion that the Christians out there will never have to experience. I’m finding myself a little jealous of the one-day present dump because it’s easier. Not only do you not have to decide what to give when or divide your gift budget up among 8 days, but you also don’t have to keep your house relatively clean for holiday pictures for eight days.

#hanukkahproblems

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Santa Claus

Rose keeps putting on a pair of sunglasses and insisting that we all look at her. “Look at me, I’m Santa Claus!” she yells gleefully.

I never realized Santa Claus wore sunglasses.


I’ve seen many pictures of Santa Claus wearing eyeglasses, but very few of him in sunglasses. Has there been a Christmas in July commercial on lately that I haven’t noticed with Santa in sunglasses? Who knows.

She might mean something else entirely though. She often gets her terms mixed up. In addition to her recently using the word “rip” for “boo boo” or “cut”, she also insists that her bandage is really called a “headband”. “Look at my headband! I have a boo-boo!”

If only Rose would wear a real headband. Then we could get rid of her bangs! Oh well. Maybe someday. (I have a severe aversion to bangs. I might be allergic to them. It’s been VERY difficult to deal with toddler girls who hate barrettes when I have such a bang aversion. No one looks good with bangs. No one. Not even you. People might be telling you your new haircut with bangs looks awesome, but I’m here to tell you you look better without them. All of you. No matter what. TRUST ME. Also, get out of that baggy ’80s shirt and skinny jeans. You look stupid.)

Huh, how did that post about my (Jewish) child claiming she is Santa Claus become mostly a rant about the evilness of bangs and skinny jeans?

I wonder if she even knows who Santa Claus is? Yes, Santa came to visit us this year, but that was more than 6 months ago and she was newly 2 years old. Does she remember that?

And this all-over-the-place post is the kind of thing you get from me after a day of road tripping with three children, one of whom is only 7 weeks old. I promise something more coherent for tomorrow, presuming fussy butt allows me to put her down long enough to make a post.

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It’s a Hanukkah Miracle

Those of you who aren’t Jewish probably don’t know about this little talked about issue of setting up the menorah. Even though you have to buy specific candles to fit in your menorah, chances are even these overpriced, hard-to-find* beauties won’t stick in your menorah without a little prep work.

For almost every menorah I’ve ever had, you’d stick your candle in the holder and it would just… fall over. Alternatively, some of the menorahs’ candle holders were ever so slightly too small and your candle wouldn’t cram in without breaking.

It is ridiculous. Surely there is a way to get this right? And these aren’t cheap menorahs either. We paid at least $50 for each of them.

Anyway, BEFORE you light the menorah, at least everywhere I’ve been, you hold a flame to the bottom of the Hanukkah candle to get it to melt and stick into the menorah. Basically, you light the menorah twice. Once from the top and once from the bottom. I just did a google search to see if anyone else has ever discussed this on the internet and I’m shocked to see I’m the first. Maybe most people just let their candles be dangerously wobbly in the menorah? I don’t know.

The traditional melting of the bottom of the Hanukkah candle.

Whatever the case, last year my mother bought me a new menorah for Hanukkah. I didn’t get it use it until this year because I didn’t receive it until after Hanukkah because, as you’ve noticed, we don’t always celebrate our holidays on the right days in our family– especially because I live 4 hours away from my parents. So imagine my complete elation when I put a candle in the new menorah for the very first time and it fit. And stayed. And needed NO preparatory candle melting.

Those candles just slid right into the menorah and stayed there! OH THE NOVELTY!

It’s a Hanukkah miracle!

I know it’s a silly thing to be excited about, but man was I pumped when this happened. No more candle melting prep work at our house!

Seriously, though, menorah and/or Hanukkah candle manufacturers of the world: MAKE SURE THE CANDLE HOLES AND CANDLES ARE THE SAME SIZE. It’s really, REALLY not that complicated.

Or am I missing something?

Happy Hanukkah for real today, everyone!

 

 

*Hanukkah candles are almost impossible to find in Northwest Ohio. If you ask a clerk for them they will be SHOCKED that any old candle won’t just fit in a menorah. No. Birthday candles don’t fit. No. Giant candlestick candles don’t fit either. They HAVE to be Hanukkah candles. Grocery stores with kosher sections? You should be carrying these things like EVERY grocery store in Northwest Indiana did when I was growing up. Do you hear me Kroger and Meijer? Do you? I found them at Target this year, but trust me, they weren’t there OR Bed, Bath and Beyond the past THREE YEARS. I called the stock people to ask four years in a row and had to resort to ordering them off the internet. WTF, Northwest Ohio? We have THREE synagogues in the area. Surely there are enough Jewish people to justify carrying Hanukkah candles! Jerks. (Alternatively, the synagogues probably have candles available, but, um, I don’t belong to a synagogue right now so this is a moot point for me.)

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