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I’m getting ready to make the Spike post. I swear I am. But right now the good pictures are in my phone, not my computer.

In the meantime, we’ve done some good indoctrinating of the Kid this Chanukah.

Here’s a list of her presents:

1st night: a book about Hedgehog care

2nd night: a shirt that says “Instant Swimmer: Just Add Water”

3rd night: a book on Duck Tape crafts, and tape to go with it, including Minion tape

4th night: stuffed BMO

5th night: tzedakah (charity) She got some canned goods to donate to the hungry.

6th night: Weird But True 6

7th night: a book on Adventure Time crafts

8th night: Tabletop Owlbear t-shirts for the whole family


You’ll notice a few things about this list. For one thing, there’s not much on it. One present per night, except the fifth night, and none of them was expensive. I think the most expensive thing was the swim shirt, and that’s going to be useful because it’s a hooded long-sleeve T. Also, I bought it at a swim meet when the Kid was home with a fever, and I splurged a bit because I wanted to do something to make her feel better. Not exactly scientific, but that’s love for you.

The Kid is not greedy. She possesses the ability (not learned from me, unfortunately) to enjoy what she receives without thinking about what she doesn’t have. Each night, she put her whole focus on the new gift. And while only the stuffed BMO got a full screech, all the rest of the gifts got used/read/opened immediately. Even though last year she got a trip to Disney World (it was really my 40th birthday trip, but we passed it off as a present) she enjoyed each gift for what it was, and didn’t lose any joy because the present wasn’t bigger.

Tzedakah night is something a lot of Jews do. There are different ways to do it, but the idea is to remind your child that Chanukah isn’t only about receiving stuff, and that there are people out there who don’t have enough. Some people just don’t give anything one night. Some ask the child to give away a gift, or to give away outgrown toys before the holiday starts. Some sit down with an allotted amount of money and discuss as a family where it should be donated.

I didn’t want to do any of those things because of our Magic Menorah tradition. Part of the fun of Chanukah, in our family, is finding the present. Then a few years ago our Temple was collecting blankets for the homeless, and I got an idea. Magic Menorah could give the Kid a blanket, with the instruction that she was to donate it to the drive. We did that, and every year since she’s received something to donate one night of the holiday. Now we belong to Ethical Culture, and they have a box for a local food bank, so the Kid got an assortment of canned proteins on Saturday night, which we brought with us on Sunday and put in the donation box. It’s a nice way to teach the Kid about tzedakah, and I love that she’s gracious about not receiving a gift one night.

I want to emphasize that I’m not bragging about my parenting skills here. This is my Kid. She came this way. I’m just pleased that we haven’t screwed her up yet.

And also that she likes the Tabletop Owlbear. Nerd quotient is pretty high, I think.