Happy Hanukkah!

Or as my dad might say, מזל כאַנעקע!

One thing I have always loved about my family is its diversity. We have people from a smorgasbord of culture, colors, & backgrounds. “Tradition” means “variety” in our family. We do Italian, we do German, we do Native American, we do Mexican, we do Ukrainian… there is a little bit of everything mixed in and I love it because I grew up learning about so many different cultures from the various characters in my own family! Maybe that helps to explain, in part, my love for travel? Hmm…

Anyway, it’s no secret that this is my favorite time of year. It’s a season of celebration, togetherness, dreams of snow, and drinking hot chocolate in my warm jammies. I look forward to it every year, and doubt I will ever grow too old to enjoy the simple joys of the season.

My dad used to teach us about his Jewish roots at this time of year, too. What is more fun for a kid than celebrating Christmas AND Hanukkah?! (Um, not much!!) Mom & Dad always made it fun for us; they’d hide a small gift for us on each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah and Dustin and I would dig through the house until we each found our gift. Then we’d light all get together at the fireplace and light a candle on the menorah. Afterwards Mom would make us a treat – hot chocolate, cider, a snack, something delicious! – and we’d all lounge around in our pajamas enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree (ne, Hanukkah bush!) and the menorah.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah for 2011. To my dad, who shared his traditions and opened our eyes to so many ways of life, to my Grandma B. who embodies the idea of “Jewish grandmother”, to my Uncles Greg & Guy, and of course my Jewish bestie – Shalom!

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