It hasn’t happened since 1918 and won’t happen again until 2070. Thanksgiving and the 1st night of Hanukkah falling on the same night is a rare phenomenon and quite a special reason to celebrate. We’ve had a great week lighting candles, playing dreidls, and being with family.  Pete usually has four days off for Thanksgiving but we almost never have time off for Hanukkah unless it falls over the week of Christmas. One reason this year’s Hanukkah celebration has been so wonderful is because the time off means we’re actually getting a real HOLIDAY!

During the month of November this year, we made a “gratefulness” tablecloth. On this tablecloth, all of us were to record with Sharpie pens what we were grateful for. My original idea was to fill the whole tablecloth up with 30 items for each person in the family and then have Thanksgiving dinner on it, but the children were so excited about it that they filled the tablecloth in a few days. Pete and I had so much fun looking over the things the kids mentioned – God, insects, family, democracy, toys, latkes, and all manner of other sporadic reasons for thanksgiving. Hey, if it’s something that blesses your life even if insignificant, why not write it down?  Kids seem to have no problem coming up with reasons to be grateful. A good lesson for us adults.

The mini globes pictured in this post have a great story behind them. My kids happen to love snow globes. L.O.V.E. them. I have no idea why, but I suppose there really is something magical to the swirling sparkles and idyllic scenes suspended in a clear glass ball. Anyway, I’ve never been able to find snow globes that don’t have the Christmas theme. Any ones with more winter-scenish were always made of glass – a big no-no with a 3 year old boy who throws everything. I decided my ideal snow globe would be 1) small enough to fit in a child’s hand 2) NOT glass and 3) not cost a fortune. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get some extra hanukkiah candles and what did I find but these little treasures tucked onto the bottom shelf! They met all my criteria, were Hanukkah-themed, and could light up. And since it was the day AFTER the first day of Hanukkah, I got them for 50% off. Not only have my kids had some wonderful nightlights for the whole festival of Hanukkah, the theme really fits nicely with the Festival of Lights. Add light-up snow globes to our gratefulness tablecloth, Mommy, thank you very much!

One tradition we started a few years ago was to make potato latkes (a traditional Hanukkah treat) and cranberry applesauce (full of Manishewitz wine and OH so good!) for our neighbors as a way of reaching out and sharing Yeshua’s love during a time of year that many people experience loneliness. This year it turned out to be quite welcome with everyone having just celebrated Thanksgiving. Our neighborhood isn’t exactly in the best part of town, but that doesn’t mean we have to hide in our home and fearfully ignore everyone around us. We are very blessed to have developed some great relationships over the years with the people on our street. I want my girls to learn to enjoy hospitality and the gift of service to others, and what a blast it is putting together the items and decorating them with verses and blessings for the neighbors, praying for them as we do. It always goes over so well, and who knows what God does in their hearts when they know where we come from and that we want to show them love? Yeshua is the Light of the World, and that concept should not be lost on us as we celebrate His holy announcement during the Feast of Dedication and try to be a light to those around us who are living in great darkness. I love the theme of light this year!

Happy dreidl-spinning, latke-making, menorah-lighting, and Jesus-sharing!