If you are reading this, you have survived the Chanukah season of 2017.
The toys your kids asked for have been unwrapped and forgotten. In fact, there are probably several pieces of wrapping paper scattered on the floor (or maybe that is just in my house). Gift cards from well-intentioned relatives have been accidentally discarded or put in a very safe place, only to be found a year from now, when you are looking for the tape to wrap a whole new bunch of presents. (Though that could just be in my house as well.) And you have eaten way too many latkes and donuts.
You have to give credit and respect to a holiday that revolves around oil. I mean, really, oil is everywhere. It is the one time of year that I break out the hand grater and make my potato pancakes by hand. With no food processor. After all, what is a real latke unless it has a little bit of blood in it. (Kidding, they are very sanitary…) I have never owned a Cuisinart because even though I registered for one when I got engaged, I never really wanted one. They seem to take up a lot of space and are very hard to clean. There are different size blades for what seems to be every single vegetable, and I have never had a desire to be a part of the Cuisinart club.
After all, what is the point of cooking unless you can complain about it?
But back to the gifts. Every year there is something that is “in.” Remember Cabbage Patch dolls? (Mine is still in the box because I wasn’t allowed to open it.) Tickle Me Elmo? Game Cube? Pokemon cards? Garbage Pail cards? I was never one of those parents who had to get the gift-du-jour for their child. Why is this? I have no idea. My goal has always been to give presents that don’t make my kids cry. For example, one year I bought each of my boys their favorite cereal. I gift wrapped it and made it look very enticing — and fortunately they played along, and treated it with oohs and aahs, like it was a real gift.
The same applied to when they each received a giant Hershey bar. No tears — just intense sugar-induced hyperactivity. Perfect. And baseball cards. Yes, when you only have boys who like sports, baseball cards are the Holy Grail of gifts. And if, within the pack, you find players on teams that your kid actually like — that is the best.
And Legos…for years I could get away with Legos. You start with the huge plastic ones, that can also be used as teething toys, and progress up to the teeny tiny ones that can be built into cars and planes and trains. Or, if you are really lazy, you can just build a wall. (That was not a political statement. You can build really nice walls with Legos and it takes a lot of time, so you kill two birds with one stone.)
But now my boys are getting older. They shave, they drive, they go to sleep later than I do — they are becoming men. This year, they told me (very politely) what they wanted for Chanukah. For son #3, the request was Carolina Panthers pajama pants. The Panthers are a football team. They were in the Super Bowl two years ago, but son #3 has been a fan way before that. Easy request. You just Google it and it’s all done online.
Son #2 is still in Israel learning away, so his request had something to do with Artscroll. Some kind of book, well, a sefer as they are now referred to. That also can be done online.
But son #1 requested a wireless headphone. What is a wireless headphone? Are they headphones that don’t attach to anything? And are they those big headphones that used to come with Walkmen? Or are they the little kind that are ear buds and come with all products that have the letter “i” in front of them?
Yes, it has finally happened. I have become too old to know what’s in. Just like I do not know what wireless headphones are, I also have no idea what Paw Patrol is, because my kids are too old for that. I guess it’s a good thing that they still like Cinnamon Toast Crunch — for now, anyway.
I hope all of your presents were successful ones, but that your presence, wherever you were this holiday season, was the greatest gift of all.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck did not receive any tangible Chanukah presents from her beautiful boys this year. But that is okay, because they all ate her latkes and didn’t fight with each other!