Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas Seder plate

A new tradition for our family:

A Christmas Seder plate.
- lamb shankbone or tiny lamb statue, representing Jesus as the Lamb of God
- a sprig of evergreen, symbolizing new life and hope in the middle of winter
- piece of hay or grass, representing the humility of Jesus, born in humble circumstances
- gold or a small gift, symbolizing that God has given us great gifts
- angel, symbolizing bringing good news from God

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A blessed Christmas to all.

Last night, the fourth night of Hanukkah, we had real latkes for dinner, rather than ones made from a mix. Yum! Then we headed off to the candlelight worship service. The choir sang, the bell ringers rang, we heard the age-old story of a baby born in humble circumstances, we sang hymns (lots of them!). And the candlelight service brought tears to my eyes (as usual) because of its loveliness. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

It's different being home for Christmas - usually we are visiting my family. We didn't get up until 8 am or so. First we opened the things in our stockings - my favorite part of gift-giving at Christmas is stockings - all those little gifts and candy! There was much trading of candy, something I never did as a kid. Then a leisurely breakfast, followed by opening of gifts to each other. That part goes fairly quickly when there are just 5 instead of 15 people.

Maybe it's good we're home - seems like one of my dear ones has a fever...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boy Scout Latkes

Recipe for Boy Scout Latkes

Put on hiking boots. Make a fire. Peel a baking potato. Coat one side of tin foil with oil. Wrap potato in tin foil. Cook in fire until done. Remove from fire. Stomp on potato to flatten into pancake. Serve with applesauce and Cheez Whiz.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bring Us a Shrubbery, and Make It a Nice One

Our Christmas tree, decorated with origami made by our own Origami Swami!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Common Household Irony

This week was full of "December Dilemma" irony.

On Monday I was scheduled to talk to the kids at the elementary school about Hanukkah for our school's "Diversity Day." I don't like to do it by myself, not being Jewish 'n' all but my daughter indicated she would be crushed if I didn't come. I had another Mom lined up to help me, but she had to cancel at the last minute. So it was up to me! It went well, and I found that I was enjoying myself. Until a teacher's aide came in, who, it seems, was Jewish. She pointed out right away that one of the menorahs I had brought was not a "kosher" menorah, because the eight candles were not all the same height. Oy vey! When the 4th and 5th grade kids came along, I asked what Jewish holidays they had heard of besides Hanukkah. Only in one class did someone volunteer a correct answer. They all know what a dreidel is, anyway.

On Wednesday I picked up the invitation books so we can pick the invitations for my son's bar mitzvah. On Friday I went shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.

Today we bought a live Christmas tree! Once we picked the tree we wanted, the lot attendant asked us, "Would you like it clean-cut?" Uh, what's that mean? We just said "We don't usually get a live tree. Can you explain it to us?" The lot attendant got a nice tip.

My daughter decided to make cookies today. I need to take cookies to church tomorrow for the reception after the children's Christmas program. I thought, I'll just take some of the cookies that my daughter makes. She made sugar cookies in the shape of dreidels, menorahs, six-pointed stars, torahs, whales, and bones (?!). And to think that last year I was fretting over whether anyone at our synagogue would be insulted if I brought cookies in those shapes to a synagogue event. i hope nobody at church minds my Hanukkah-themed cookies. They taste great!