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    Holiday traditions at our house

    I’m told this has been the first time in 40 years that Hanukkah and Christmas both fell on the same day. I do my usual candle lighting (well, actually Herman does the candle lighting) and reminisce about the past Hanukkahs I’ve had.

    It’s traditional to have potato latkes on Hanukkah (latkes are like small potato pancakes) along with brisket and applesauce. It generally pales beside the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey and all the trimmings. But that has become commercialized over the years.

    One of Herman’s favorite traditions at this time of year is to watch “The Christmas Story” which is also known as Red Ryder Christmas because of the B-B Gun involved. It plays around the clock on one cable channel and Herman caught parts of several showings.

    But back to Hanukkah. On my page-a-day cat calendar for the first day of Hanukkah, there were two cats sitting by a Menorah with candles lit. A Menorah is a candelabra with nine candle holders to symbolize the eight days of the Festival of Lights plus the main candle to light the others with symbolizing the light of the spirit.

    The holiday is based on the miracle of the oil lamp that stayed lit for eight days in the Old Temple. There is a lot of history and tradition with this holiday, just as there is with Christmas. There are traditional Jewish songs that accompany the lighting of the candles. I would need my mother to help me remember them.

    Another difference is that while children tear open all their presents at once on Christmas morning, there is a different present opened each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Additionally, the candles are lit at sunset in the evenings of each night of Hanukkah.

    In our house, the extent of our holiday decorations are all the holiday greeting cards we have received. We hang them on the banister of the stairway as well as the rungs and sideboards as they increase in number.

    Herman doesn’t really even care about having a Christmas tree. This is just fine with me, although if he wanted it I would try not to object. He says they are too messy with pets in the house and I agree.

    I guess you could say with the holiday cards we have started our own tradition. Hope your holidays were as happy as ours.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com