8 Reasons You Should Want to Celebrate Chanukah

Can I be honest for a second? If I see one more "Christmas gift guide for him/her/your dog/your mom/your hipster friend/your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," I'm going to vomit.

I'm not trying to insult anyone who's written one (or five. Does anyone ever write just one?). But honestly, talk about overload. Is it a requirement for every single blogger out there to put together gift guides for Christmas? Did everyone sign some contract when they created their blogs that set some sort of Christmas gift guide quota? Because I must've missed that memo.

Really, I'm not a Grinch or a Scrooge, I promise. I'm just Jewish (so, same thing?). And of all the blogs I follow -- which is a pretty decent amount -- I have not seen a single solitary post about Chanukah. Are there any other Jewish bloggers out there? Anyone? ...Bueller?


Okay, so, if I'm the only blogger that's been Bat Mitzvah'd, I think it's my duty to diversity the holiday posts, and maybe equalize the representation a little bit. Because as much as everyone loves Christmas, everyone is also stressed out of their mind about Christmas. Meanwhile, us Jews over here are eating donuts and chillin'. In other words: you should want to celebrate Chanukah.

1. It lasts eight nights. We may not have the Christmas morning experience, but isn't Christmas all about traditions anyway? Well, Chanukah gives you eight nights of gifts (delayed gratification for the win!) and eight opportunities to create traditions!

2. Candles. It seems that most people are absolutely head-over-heels for candles (again, was this in that blogger contract I missed?). When you celebrate Chanukah, the only required part of the "celebration" is lighting candles. Only two on the first night, but by the time the eighth night rolls around, you're lighting nine! I don't even have that candle obsession, but even I love it when the menorah's lit. There's something strangely calming about it.

3. It's an excuse to eat fried food. Quick basic religion lesson: Chanukah celebrates the miracle of oil that was only supposed to burn for one night ending up burning for eight. So as much as we're celebrating light, we're also celebrating oil. Nowadays we don't light it on fire (though I guess you could do that if you want?), but we do fry things in it. Donuts? Totally Chanukah-appropriate!

4. Latkes. The ultimate fried food, latkes are totally worthy of their own place on this list, because holy delicious, Batman! I literally look forward to Chanukah every year for the sole reason of my grandma's latkes. They're a game-changer. The last few years I've gotten to make them with her, and this year I made my first solo attempt! Pretty bomb for a first try, I must say! They're super time consuming and the process is incredibly messy and you'll smell like fry for the rest of your life, but for so much deliciousness? WORTH IT.

Sorry they're not prettier. And sorry the photo sucks. But listen, I'd just been peeling/grating/frying for two hours, so...

5. It's really not about the gifts. Maybe this is just my own wrong perception, but when I was younger it sounded like all my friends got every material object in their wildest dreams for Christmas and ended the morning drowning in crumpled wrapping paper. I've definitely gotten some great Chanukah presents over the years, and I was definitely always excited to open presents, but it was never this massive gift-fest like Christmas sounded like. On Chanukah, you get excited about getting one gift on each night, not a thousand things in one go. And maybe it's just my family, but we don't buy gifts for every single person we know, so the idea that people are so stressed out of their minds about Christmas shopping is a completely foreign concept to me.

6. It's an excuse to watch Miracle. Chanukah is literally celebrating a miracle. So "do you believe in miracles?" is actually a pretty flawless Chanukah reference! Would you believe me if I said I hadn't put that together until this week? I know, clearly I've been slacking.

My mom found this on Pinterest and it changed my life. There's a whole DIY tutorial at the source!

7. It's a way to celebrate religion without having to go to services. On Christmas, is there any religious aspect anymore unless you go to Mass? I guess you could say grace before eating, or pray, or whatever else goes on that I'm just not privy too. But when you celebrate Chanukah, you light the menorah while reciting a specific prayer (and in Hebrew, no less). I'm not even a religious person -- like, at all -- but I like that I can be Jewish in such an easy, low-key way. One Hebrew sentence, a handful of candles, and I'm good to go.

8. It teaches you to go with the flow. Chanukah's date corresponds to the Jewish calendar, so for those of us who use the Gregorian calendar, it falls on a different date every year. Last year the first night was on Thanksgiving. This year, the last day is Christmas Eve. Sometimes it's earlier, sometimes it runs until after Christmas. And there's nothing you can do about it! Sorry, type-A planners, but you'll just have to deal with a month less of gift prep time! And you always, always have to go to school or work during Chanukah. If you're lucky it'll overlap with Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas Eve/Day, but if not? Bummer. Schedule your family get-together on the first night or the last night or some random night that falls over the weekend. There's no sense in getting uptight about it.

BONUS: there is absolutely no reason to put together a Chanukah gift guide post!

Tonight I'll be watching Miracle and eating latkes. I'm pretty excited about it. :) Happy Chanukah, friends!

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  1. Heads up for 2015:
    Chanukah 2015 begins in the evening of Sunday, December 6 and ends in the evening of Monday, December 14

  2. Happy Chanukah, Darci! I'm actually making latkes for Christmas Eve dinner because my stepdad is Jewish, and my bf's Polish-American mom shared her recipe with me. Not that I need an excuse to make latkes, cause hello, latkes!

    ~ Sarah

    P.S. Writes like a girl -- it's a fashion/feminist blog, but Nicole describes herself as "Jew-ish."

  3. I could celebrate Chanukah strictly for the fried food!

    Btw, I'm probably one of the few bloggers who didn't do a Christmas gift guide this year ... thought about doing a 'wishlist' one, but I didn't get around to it!