Hanukkah begins this year at sundown on December 8. This seems early to me, furthering the cultural belief system that Jewish holidays come either early or late but never on time. Since Hanukkah falls early this year, I had to scramble to get ready for my children’s eight nights of gifts as soon as the turkey was in the oven.
No one ever asks me what I want for Hanukkah except for my mother, because it’s really a festival enjoyed by children and I am now an adult. Well, at least most of the time I am. Luckily, I will always be my mother’s child, and therefore, always worthy of her presents.
Starting in September, she’ll offer to buy me stuff and say it’s for Hanukkah. “If you love this sweater,” she’ll comment from a dressing room in Barney’s where we are staring at my reflection in a three-way mirror, “I’ll get it for you for Hanukkah. But you have to promise to remember.”
“I’ll remember,” I’ll say. And I do. The thing is, she forgets.
“These new All-Clad pots are for your anniversary and Hanukkah combined,” she’ll say, bringing a huge box into my house through the garage. “But, since it’s not December yet, you’ll have to remember.”
“I’ll remember, Ma,” I’ll say. “Thanks.”
“Do you like this necklace?” My mom will ask. “It’s for Hanukkah. But –“
“I’ll remember,” I’ll say. “Promise.”
After Hanukkah, we start gearing up for my birthday in July. “It’s for your birthday, but you’ll have to remember.”
Who could ever forget such generosity and love?
Wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah, from my Jewish mother to yours.
Originally published in The Scarsdale Inquirer, December 7, 2012