1. Channukah gelt: Who doesn’t love waxy, chocolate-esque confection wrapped in foil? True, Channukah gelt bares little resemblance to actual chocolate, and true, I spend the eight days AFTER channukah finding the sad, empty foil husks just about everywhere — under pillows, shoved between couch cushions, and scatttered all over the floor of the minivan like sawdust at a rodeo. But the gelt is ours, and it’s pretty and shiny even if it is tasteless. Yum.
2. Fire: Matches are not something we generally leave lying around, but on Channukah we get sloppy. Every day we find our boys huddled around some poor object they are trying to set on fire. I have already found them trying to ignite their sneakers, a balloon, and their sisters’ American Girl dolls.
3. No homework: My children go to a Jewish school, and the school does a good job of bringing on the merry: Color war, field trips, singing, donuts, and then some more donuts. Best of all is a a no-homework policy for the eight days of the holiday. Even though some teachers flout this policy (you know who you are), there could not possibly be a bigger gift to children and parents alike than a break from homework. It has me wishing Channukah was eight months long.
4. Baked latkes: That’s right. I am unable to fry anything other than an egg without turning the kitchen ceiling black and setting off multiple fire alarms. Baking my latkes avoids this and lets me make more than one latke at a time, freeing me up for other things,like stopping the boys from setting fire to their shoes.
5. Gifting like a Jewish Mother: That’s right, kids. I’m once again using the holiday to give you snow boots, hats, undershirts, mountains of books, and enough underwear to make it through a nuclear winter. Enjoy.
6. Sales: Let’s be honest, nobody would mark down prices for Channukah alone. The happy timing of Channukah right near Christmas means that I didn’t pay full price for all that underwear.
7. Days Nine and Ten: Because I am a last-minute sort of gal, and because even UPS is not perfect, each year there are some gifts that show up after Channukah has been and gone. Nothing says I love you like giving your children neck warmers and fresh school supplies (a little known Channukah tradition) on days nine and ten of Channukah.
8. Time: It’s flying past me faster than I can handle. Channukah slows things down. For eight nights, work ends earlier, school slows down, we spend time with friends and family, and all in all, we get to take a really deep, much-needed breath.