I really do.
Call me a Scrooge. Or a Grinch. Or whatever.
This holiday has become a shameful mockery of what was intended to be an important message about religious identity. A polemic against assimilation.
Instead, it has become a poor imitation of someone else’s holiday.
What bothers me the most is that Chanukah provides a prolonged opportunity for some of the worst behaviour from our kids. It seems to highlight kids’ tendencies towards greed and ungraciousness. We try to keep the emphasis off the gifts and keep it on the candles, the Chanukah story, dreidels, but with little success. They tear into each night’s gift as though they have lived lives of material deprivation. No amount of lecturing manages to alter their attitudes.
And because we have a child on the autistic spectrum, all of the hullabaloo sets up the conditions for a perfect storm: Late nights, overwhelming sensory stimulation (sights, smells, etc), and the constant danger of disappointment at not receiving what he really wants — video games. Kids without autism, neuro-typical kids we call them, are also challenged by the above changes in their routines but possess the coping mechanisms to handle such changes. A kid on the spectrum, however, can be thrown by any one of them. And as much as the loving adults in his life want to believe that “he needs to learn to cope with disappointment,” for example, insisting that Beernut acquires what at this point appears to be beyond his developmental grasp does little to create peace and harmony here at Beit Frummie.
Oh, how I wish I had possessed the strength to have established better ground rules prior to kids. ZaydeGiraffe has the right idea; some nuts, an orange, a dreidel, and, if you are very lucky, a shirt or something equally practical and call it a day. Or, in this case, a Chanukah present.
Already set apart from their Christmas-observant friends, the Frumettes would stand outside our communal norm. But at least we could focus on the meaning of Chanukah, free of the other shtuss that seems to accompany it.
And, on that happy note…
I would like to thank Streit’s and Doni Zasloff Thomas a.k.a. Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band for providing each of the 16 bloggers involved in #HanukkahHoopla with a little cyber-swag. Their cross-promotional alliance is designed to celebrate Jewish culture with the young generation, a mission of both Mama Doni and Streit’s.
- Mama Doni’s 2011 Parents’ Choice Award-winning CD, Shabbat Shaboom
- a Mama Doni poster
- a Download card for free Mama Doni songs (1 Chanukah song and 1 Passover song)
- a Bag of Streit’s chocolate Hanukkah gelt.
How can you win? Leave me an awesome comment. On December 29, 2011, I will select one winner at random. Be sure to subscribe to my blog or subscribe to comments on this page so you can find out if you are the winner! If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
Prefer to be contacted via Twitter? Leave your Twitter handle in your comment and I will tweet you if you win.
Not interested in winning? You can still leave a comment! I love to read your words. Just write: “No prize necessary” in your comment.
Please don’t make me work too hard to find you. That will make me kvetchy. Oy.
===> Please head over to Aprons & Blazers who is co-hosting this eighth, and final, day of #HanukkahHoopla with me.
And a huge shout-out to Lessons from Teachers and Twits for pulling this all together.