Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, my very favorite time of year is approaching. We will call it Chanukah season in order not to upset my Oreos.

I just love Chanukah season. The decorations, the lights, the trees, the music, the feeling of magic and hope in the air. I love everything about it. Even when I go for my walks in my neighborhood, I love exploring the streets in order to locate the houses that have put the time and effort in to making their homes sparkle and entertain. I even took some pictures for my sister of the Mickey and Minnie Mouse who are hanging out on a sleigh in front of someone’s house this year. Things like that just make you smile.

For years and years, my mom would have my dad drive us into the city and take us to see all the department store windows that were creatively set up to wow their viewers and put everyone in a holiday mood. My dad would double park while we got out to wait on line to see the windows. He would read a book. Probably some scintillating 4,000-page classic on Winston Churchill or Stalin.

Chanukah season was also when dad probably read the most books, because there were a lot of store windows to check out. Not so many now, but there were back in the olden days. I also loved going to see the Nutcracker and the Chanukah show at Radio City Music Hall with the modestly dressed Rockettes. Really good memories. And even as recently as a few years ago, I would take a bus into the city and meet my friend at the Bryant Park holiday mall. (I don’t think that is what it is called, but I am having a senior moment.) We would walk to see the stores that lit up to music. Things like that just put you in a great mood. They don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing!

In any event, with the holiday season approaching, and with gift-giving a large part of the holiday season, my mailbox has been pregnant with many, many catalogues, as I am sure yours have been as well. I, of course, always love the food catalogues, like Harry and David or Fruit of the Month Club. It is amazing how many ways catalogue writers can describe a chocolate menorah with almonds in it, or the adjectives used to describe peaches or kiwis. That is a job I think I could be really good at — a food catalogue writer. Would I get to sample what I was describing? How awesome would that be?

And then there are the clothing catalogues. Since I am not buying any new clothing this year for two reasons: 1. My dad dying and 2. I haven’t really stopped eating since my dad died, so it’s a good thing I can’t buy new clothes. What I keep forgetting is that, God willing, when my avelut is over, I already have two weddings in June. If I don’t stop eating — I don’t think they make a Hefty bag in my size — we are going to have some big problems, pun intended. But I digress. I look through the clothing catalogues and pretend that I am a size 00 and that everything in the catalogue would just swim on me. I find that quite entertaining. And then I throw the catalogue out next to the wrappers from the chocolate menorahs with almonds (because chocolate always fits, and so does jewelry. Hmm… Is there such a thing as chocolate jewelry?)

Anyway, my favorite catalogue has always been the Sharper Image. Am I being sarcastic? Perhaps a little, but there are things in there that I always wonder if people actually buy. In theory, battery-heated gloves sound great, but how long do the batteries last? Do they get in the way when you put them on and take them off? Can’t you just buy gloves that are warm enough that they don’t need batteries? And all of the hair removal products — “at home laser hair removal” for less than $200. Does that sound safe? Husband #1 would definitely get electrocuted by the heated blanket, because, inevitably, he would spill his Fanta on it, and then what? Do we sue the Sharper Image? Yup, into the garbage it goes, next to the clothing that are too big and the menorah that was delicious.

The best catalogue this year was the one filled with toys that I want to buy for Strudel, because just like calories don’t count if you eat standing up, money doesn’t matter when you are buying toys for a grandchild. Yes, I stand by that, Husband #1.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck already has a trunk full of toys for Strudel. She’s assuming she has to get gifts for Strudel’s parents and her aunts and uncles
as well….

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