Every holiday season brings ups and downs. It seems the time between Thanksgiving and New Year gets shorter all the time. We start with Thanksgiving, my mom’s favorite holiday because no gifts are required, she always says. Sometimes as soon as Thanksgiving night according to the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah arrives. Celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas in our home means more of a rush. We now have to choose our
Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. The shrinking number of tree farms offering evergreens for sale has shrunk as open space seems to gobble up those farms. This year, Hanukkah began Friday, December 11. Fortunately, the three of us were all in the same place at the same time so we could light the candles. Saturday, we drove to New York for a Hanukkah dinner with Doug’s brother, sister-in-law and other family. What a joy!
Our two nephews, aged 9 and 6 had their performances all ready. Nick played the violin and Noah read a
poem he had written about winter. Larisa was too shy to share her talent, but her “blondness” is just so cute, just smiling was “show” enough. I brought along a book written by a distant relative, Jane Breskin Zalben, “Pearl’s Eight Days of Chanukah.” It was simply a joy to have the children and others gathered around listening to the story of Pearl whose cousins were visiting during the Festival of Lights. It was made more special since the author, from Long Island, was somehow related. I have since emailed her to tell her of sharing her story with the New York Breskins. I hope to hear back from her.
Meantime, as a winter cold settles in, we are a week from Christmas. We have two more nights of lighting the Hanukkah candles (if we’re all at home at the same time). The Joretts will spend Christmas dinner with us, so the decorations are going up. I figure by President’s Day I’ll be finished. The house always looks so festive and warm. I can never bake enough cookies for the holiday and before I know it, it’s New Years and time to think about taking everything down.
The holidays mean less for those who have lost someone. At the gym this morning a woman came in to tell the folks at the gym her husband, who’d been a faithful exerciser, had died of a sudden heart attack this week. Our friend, Agnes lost her husband several years ago. She says she’ll spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at a friend’s, but she doesn’t much like the holidays anymore.
My son hasn’t mentioned it yet, but for years, he and I have gone into Philadelphia to enjoy the light display at Macy’s, which of course, used to be John Wanamaker’s. We’ve added the Comcast display and walking through City Hall courtyard to see the official city holiday tree. Lunch is always at Reading Terminal Market, Adam’s favorite. Tradition!
Here’s hoping we find quiet moments to be thankful for the time we have with our family and friends and be sure to mark off some special moments to share and remember. Happy Holidays!