Posts Tagged "presents"

The Story of Hanukkah (DearKid Style)

Dear Kid,

Happy Hanukkah! DearKidLoveMom.comJust in case you weren’t sure about the story of Hanukkah (or Chanukah), I have decided to summarize it for you. I’m just that kind of mom.

Once upon a time it was a really long time ago. We know it was a long time ago because the years were still counting down to zero.

In Syria there was a king. This is not surprising since pretty much everywhere had a king. But this particular king was lacking in both some of his marbles and all of his manners. King Antiochus IV (for that was his name), demonstrated both lacks by trying to convince everyone that his religion was the Only Religion. This didn’t work out really well for the Jews who were quite happy remaining Jewish thank you very much.

Antiochus IV responded by employing the time honor diplomatic tactic of killing thousands of Jews. The Jews responded by objecting and inventing latkes. No, that came later.

Intrigue, murder, murder, intrigue.

Eventually, a gaggle of Antiochus’ bad guys betook themselves to the village of Modin where they built an altar and demanded that everyone offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Enter Mattathias the Hasmonean, his sons (including Judah Maccabee), and a bunch of other folks. Mattathias and his sons killed the bad guys, destroyed the altar, and invented latkes. Nope, still later.

Mattathias and his sons et al. fled to the hills where they bought condos and established a revolutionary outpost. Without latkes because we haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet.

War, battles, ridiculous odds, and after Judah and Company won despite being outrageously outnumbered, they liberated Jerusalem.

The temple in Jerusalem was a disaster. The Maccabees et al. cleaned and rededicated it. But they found only a tiny bit of oil that hadn’t been defiled. Catastrophe! And it would take 8 days to press and prepare more oil. (Math note: 8 days needed is greater than 1 day available supply.)

Then—wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles—the oil lasted for all 8 days. And latkes were invented.Happy Hanukkah!

You may note that nowhere in the story are presents mentioned. That’s just a modern day bonus.

Love, Mom

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The Big Thank You | Part I

Dear Kid,

“WOW! This is Fan-TAS-tic! Thank you SO MUCH!!!”

The words gush out as we open presents and they are lovely to hear. Well, they are lovely to hear if the gift giver is in the room. Actually, they are lovely to hear even if the gift giver isn’t in the room, but the gift giver can’t hear the thank you if not present (pun intended).

I really hope you followed that.

Enter: The Thank You Note.

The first Thank You Note was written by Joe Neanderthal. He wrote it to a Saber Tooth Tiger who had generously eaten Joe’s friend Blorg rather than Joe. It looked something like this:

x marks the spot.

Interestingly, that particular Saber Tooth Tiger never ate Joe. Joe assumed that this was because of the Thank You Note (in reality, it was because Blorg caused the Saber Tooth Tiger to have a very upset stomach from which he died).

From then on, Joe insisted that everyone write thank you notes. Mrs. Joe Neanderthal was so surprised she forgot to be annoyed.

Love, Mom


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Surprise! It’s a Gift

Dear Kid,

“What’s in the box?” When the postal service, UPS, or FEDEX brings something to our house, someone inevitably asks about its contents.

Except at this time of year.

Around this time of year there is an unspoken agreement not to ask about packages. Sometimes we pretend we don’t even “see” a box (which might, just might, contain a gift) that has been delivered.

During the rest of the year, curious kids look in bags that have been lugged home. This time of year a quick “not for your eyes” is enough to keep everyone busy elsewhere.

I love that we love surprises. I have never understood the stories about people who search for their presents so they know what they’re getting.

There is an LL Bean commercial (which I have thoughtfully provided for you) that shows gifts wrapped so that there is no question as to what the package contains—yet the recipients look perplexed about the contents. I love that.

I love the moment of anticipation wondering what’s in the box or bag or envelop. I love watching you slowly rip off the wrapping paper to find out. I love/hate when Dad decides to start a monologue (always a looooong monologue) about what the contents of his gift might possibly be (although I kind of love it more when the monologue ends).

Surprises are gifts in and of themselves.


Love, Mom

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My Present View of Gifts

Dear Kid,

‘Tis that time of year when children come home from college (we’re delighted to have you back!), the temperatures are dropping (not so delighted), and weird and unexpected gift ideas are popping up all over.

Last year you did a marvelous job of not buying me the things I asked you never to get me. If you have a burning desire to see a list of things you don’t need to buy for me this year (including bacon bandages, a penis-shaped egg fryer, and a nose shower dispenser) you’ll find the list here.

Merry Everything, Love Mom DearKidLoveMom.comGifts are a interesting things. Some gifts are so wonderful they make us cry (I am thinking a specifically of a life size Barbie head to apply makeup to that I was given when I was a wee tot. Over the moon happy. Many tears.). Some gifts are so awful they make us want to weep (I am thinking of days-of-the-week undies I was given as an even smaller wee tot).

Some gifts fall into the “small thought to say I’m thinking of you” category (a cookie, a candy cane, a pair of socks with little hearts on them). Some gifts are about deeper meaning (a contribution made in your name to a favorite charity, a handmade card). Some gifts are full of tradition, and some gifts merely fill up the “Oh, dang! I’ve got to come up with something right now!” category.

All too often we forget how fortunate we are to live in a time and place where we can focus on the non-essential (nose shower dispenser? really?).

What do I want this year? A little bit of time. Time to breathe, time to appreciate, and most of all time to spend with you and Pi.

Love, Mom




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