WonderWife’s™ family and mine had very different approaches when it came to doling out Hanukkah gifts. When she was very young, WW™ would be visited by the "Hanukkah Fairy", a magical unseen creature who hides a present somewhere in the house each night. My parents took a different tact, forgoing the creation of a new Hanukkah mythology in favor of a more direct approach. Each morning, my mom would place that night’s present on the kitchen counter, next to the menorah, leaving ample time for my sister and me to work ourselves up into a lather all day wondering what was in those boxes.
Approximately ten minutes before we were going to light the first of this year’s Hanukkah candles, it dawned on us that we should establish what our pattern of gift giving was going to be—the Fairy or the table? WW™ was pushing hard for the Hanukkah Fairy and was really excited about starting a new tradition with our family. It was decided.
After we lit the menorah, we told the Bean that the Hanukkah fairy had hidden a present somewhere in the house. WW™ smiled as I attempted to guide him via the “warmer/colder” game, which I quickly found out is an incredibly ineffective way to coach a toddler. Thankfully, it didn’t take long before the Bean found the gift. Paper was shredded and each of our kids had a shiny new toy.
The next morning, WW™ rehashed the evening’s events with the Bean. “So the Hanukkah Fairy visited you last night?” WW™ asked.
“Oh mommy,” he said. “That’s just pretend.”
So much for new traditions.