All I want for Hanukkah this year

Claire Lewin, Associate Managing Editor

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According to old myths, when you throw a coin into a wishing well, your wish comes true. When I was young, I innocently believed this tale and begged my parents for pennies whenever I caught a glimpse of a fountain.

When I was eight-years-old, amidst shopping for my mother’s birthday present with my dad, I spotted a shiny, large fountain filled with wishes right in front of Anthropology (a sacred and holy place in and of itself). I promptly asked my dad for a coin and ran out of the store to send my hope into the sacred water.

I’m sure my dad assumed that I would ask for a gift card to Limited Too, a Bratz doll, or maybe even a puppy. But, no.

“I wish I was Christian,” I said, as I tossed the penny over my head.

With that one statement, I wished to abandon all the Jewish values my parents had tried to instill in me through Sunday School, religious services and holidays.

I didn’t make my wish because I had found a deep love for Jesus Christ–in fact, I’m not sure I even knew who he was at the time.

Rather, I was a little girl who was desperate to celebrate Christmas. I wanted to bake cookies for Santa with my cousins; I wanted to decorate the tree while sipping hot chocolate; and I wanted to hang stockings near my fireplace.

Sure, Hanukkah is nice, I guess, but every Jewish child knows that Hanukkah is nothing like the celebration of Christmas. Although it may seem cool that we get to celebrate for eight days, by the third day, everyone in the family has already forgotten. Kids go out with their friends instead of opening presents with their family; parents forget to buy Hanukkah gelt; and no special meal is prepared to celebrate the holiday. Undoubtedly, every Jewish child is envious of the fact that their Christian friends tend to get more presents on Christmas than they do on Hanukkah.

Obviously, my wish did not come true. I am still Jewish and I am still plagued with celebrating Hanukkah while watching all my friends grow joyous over Christmas. Throughout the years, I have begged my parents to celebrate Christmas (not in a religious way, but, rather, purely for the fun of it), but they are not willing to give up their Jewish roots.

I have, however, managed to incorporate a bit of the Christmas spirit into my holiday. I don’t have a Christmas tree adorned with ornaments, but I do have a Hanukkah bush that we fill with money; I don’t make cookies to leave out for Santa, but I do make Hanukkah treats for myself the night before Hanukkah; I don’t have Christmas lights that I place all throughout my home, but I do hang as many Hanukkah holiday decorations as possible.

Although I am not expecting for my eight-year-old wish to come true, I will forever be hoping.

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