Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Eight nights of presents....well, maybe not

My daughter is two years old and has been looking forward to Chanukah for weeks now. This year my wife and I decided to give her a small present each night after we lit the menorah.

This sounded good in theory. We figured that this would get our daughter all excited about Chanukah and make her love the holiday.

After ripping through her first present last night, within seconds she screamed "MORE...MORE PRESENTS!!"

I know she is only two years old, but at the same time if we are trying to teach her the values of not being selfish and materialistic, aren't we working against ourselves?

If we kept up this practice wouldn't she feel entitled to a present on the ninth night, after Chanuka is already over? We came to the conclusion that we would stop the practice of "eight nights of presents" and only give her one more present on the last night.

How do others deal with this issue? I know that it is a problem for Jews and non-Jews alike this time of year.


At December 8, 2004 at 9:39:00 AM EST, Blogger Tamara said...

SJ, in my family my boys get a 'big' present on the first and last nights, and smaller ones on the other six nights. We also have a tradition of always giving books on one of the nights. This year my husband and I decided that the 'big' gift on the final night would be for both of them, and that they'd have to share it.

In addition, our local JCC hosts a toy drive this time of year, and we always contribute a toy. It's a nice way for the boys to learn that it's important to remember those in need.

I think the example you and your wife set will be the most powerful thing as your daughter grows older.

At December 8, 2004 at 10:59:00 AM EST, Blogger Anshel's Wife said...

Before becoming frum, our family put xmas giftgiving to shame. When we first became frum, we only did money and candy. And we told my mother no presents. We have softened up now. It's my mother's tradition to do presents and it makes her happy to buy special things for the kids, so it's okay by us. Last night, we opened up the 3 big boxes my mother sent and let the kids open up some presents. Mostly just books and some games. But it was enough for them. My sister is coming to visit, so I bought a couple of things for her and my niece. I also bought each of kids 2 small presents, too.

We just try not to make a big deal about the presents. The kids need to know that that isn't what the holiday is about. One or two things, I think, is okay. The mountains of gifts I had as a child was disgusting.

At December 8, 2004 at 10:58:00 PM EST, Blogger Jay said...

I think at the age of 2 it's hard to teach her about the reason for the holiday, but as she gets older, it's up to you to emphasize the meaning, and that presents are just a way to celebrate the meaning.
But this day in age, the whole holiday thing starts a month in advance and it's hard not to get swept away in the whole consumer-y aspect. It's nice to keep up traditions so that the holiday is about more than just presents.



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