Tips for a More Meaningful Chanukah is written in partnership with Israel 365
I recently read an essay by a 70-something grandmother who was longing for the days when her kids were young and every holiday season was filled with their screaming voices, sibling rivalry and oodles of time spent carting them to holiday plays and menorah ceremonies.
Her words were so full of longing for those early years that it made me realize not only do I take those very moments for granted, but I actually dread them. Between managing the stress of the holidays, I’ve found myself yearning to fast-forward to a period when my kids will be old enough to fix their own sandwiches and plan their own play dates. And to my chagrin that day has come!
While this mom sheepishly acknowledged harboring similar feelings at the time, it’s ultimately those seemingly simple moments, like watching her kids’ faces light up at the sight of gifts and their attempts to fry up potato pancakes while littering the kitchen floor with oil drippings, that she wishes she would’ve appreciated more.
And this holiday season I’m going to try and break out of my family’s boring traditions and create some new ones- which is really code for less gifting and more giving ! While I love a good latke dipped in applesauce- it is doubtful that I will be grating potatoes and frying them up in a pan this Chanukah ( I will leave that to my very capable husband) !
This season I’m less about the gifts and so much more about giving to others. And teaching my kids that the real gift and the real reason for the season is about supporting others and lifting them up!
And to that end I’m thrilled to share a new kind of gift guide for me – ways to give back and hope that you will too!
Start a new tradition and give back instead of buying a typical gift!
Giving back instead of gifting is about making closer connections with people, promoting all aspects of health of human beings as well as the planet.
If you are looking to give a gift think about donating to one of the following three organizations!
First up –think more green and Plant A Tree In Israel in honor of a loved one! WHY IS THIS A BEAUTIFUL GIFT?
When you plant trees in the 10,000-tree Israel365 forest in Judea and Samaria, you will resurrect a piece of land that has been barren for over 2,000 years!
And you won’t leave your giftee empty handed! You will get a digital planting certificate straight to your inbox and Your name and tree dedication will appear on the dedication page on our website.
If you have a giftee who loves the planet and wants to make it more green this is the quintessential way to do so! Get started here
Next up Put a smile on the face of an Idf soldier !Show the protectors of Israel that they are the real heroes!
The brave men and women of the IDF are fully committed to fighting for the safety of the citizens in the Land of Israel. Thousands of soldiers risk their lives to defend and protect the State of Israel, sometimes without any family in Israel to care for them.
They are sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters are the very protectors of Israel, inspiring us with endless selflessness and courage. Help Meir Panim -an Israeli based organization that works around the clock to protect the citizens of Israel from poverty and hunger– give back to our precious IDF soldiers too -when you give a gift you are helping bring food and care packages to many soldiers who would otherwise be without any gifts this holiday! get started here.
And last but certainly not least invest in the future generations! Sponsor Ukrainian
Orphans In Israel
After escaping the Ukraine-Russia War and settling in Israel, 60 orphans need your help to build healthy and productive lives in the Holy Land of Israel!! With your gift you can help a a child realize their potential!
Children want to be something when they grow up. But to follow their dreams, they first need food, clothing, shelter, love, care, and support. And that’s where your gift can make all the difference this holiday. Get started here
And here are a few more ways to make this holiday more meaningful!
Enjoying the company of friends and sharing traditions is just plain good for us. Invent your own special rituals. Maybe it’s having each guest write down what they’re grateful for, and reading each other’s. It could be putting on a puppet show about gratitude or creating a gratitude time capsule you open the following year. Maybe it’s a funny toast or a craft. Let your own family and its history be your guide.
Decorate using imagination instead of money. Bring in branches, leaves, even pretty rocks from the yard to decorate the entry to your home. Hot glue dried leaves to branches and use as a centerpiece. If you don’t have enough tableware for all your guests, invite them to bring their own, preferably with a story they can share before dinner. Few of us own tablecloths big enough for a dozen people or more. Check out your local thrift store. Choose three or four coordinating cloths, pieces of fabric or sheets. Fold over the cut edges as required and iron. No sewing required! Choose beeswax candles which give offer a pleasant glow, a delightful aroma and burn more cleanly than conventional candles.
So, parents, I’ll leave you with these thoughts to hold close to your heart as you embark on some of your holiday expeditions. Time is fleeting, and when it’s gone, you’ll only remember the good stuff–perhaps because you’ll be too senile to remember the rest! Bottom line: Happy Chanukah – relish the small moments (if you can muster the patience!)