Posts Tagged ‘Chanukah’

On the second night of Chanukah, I found myself lighting the candles in a surprising place: the Greek consulate of Boston. I admit to chuckling a bit.

You see, the Maccabees—the Jewish heroes of the Chanukah story—fought against and defeated the Greeks, which is why it was amusing and unique that the Jewish and Greek communities came together during Chanukah and celebrated with latkes and sufganiyot.

Since this took place on only the second night of the holiday, I still had energy. Plus, it was a Thursday night and I knew that a restful weekend lurked right around the corner. But now that we’re six nights in, I’m exhausted by celebration. As much as I love Chanukah and the constant holiday celebrations throughout December, it can get tiring. My google calendar is a sea of red for the next two weeks, which feels daunting at times, albeit fun.

This, more than anything else, seems to be what stresses people out this time of year (this, and money, of course!). But it strikes me as odd to feel stressed about something that’s supposed to be enjoyable. Especially when you’re not even the one hosting. So rather than focusing on the excessive red on my google calendar, I’ll attempt to focus on the fact I’m lucky to have too many places to go!

Weather: Cold, but clear skies earlier in the day and a beautiful sunset.


Anna – 7 out of 10 on the “so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. She has new legwarmers.

Hannah – 7 out of 10. Excited for latkes with her parents tonight.


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Nobody likes a grinch. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t get into the holiday spirit.

Maybe it’s because I dislike shopping. Trying to make a morally justifiable purchase (fair trade? locally produced? organic? important? desirable?) can be paralyzing. Trying to select a personal, unique, and affordable gift is equally challenging. And pushing through throngs of shoppers while listening to Christmas carols gives me nightmares.

Or maybe it’s because growing up, the holidays were always a battle. In seventh grade my Spanish teacher wanted us to perform “holiday” songs at the school talent show. (“They’re not Christian!” she said. “Jesus is never mentioned!” “Feliz Navidad means merry Christmas,” I replied.) This is not really antisemitism. It’s just frustrating.

When I moved away from home, it got worse. Because of the nature of the Jewish calendar, Jewish holidays almost never fall during vacation time. So I spent my holidays alone, usually swamped with schoolwork. There’s nothing like thirty-page essays and final exams to dampen the holiday spirit.

I know that tonight is the first night of Chanukah because my non-Jewish friends have been e-mailing me all day, wishing me well. As for me, it may be grinch-like, but I’m trying to wipe Chanukah off my emotional calendar entirely.

That way, I should actually be able to enjoy the best part of the holiday. Latkes, anyone?

Weather: rainy and cool


Hannah: 6 out of 10 on the  “so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale.

Anna: Staying steady at 7.

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Good thing I didn’t actually decide to liveblog my Thanksgiving. It would have gone something like:

“Moseying across the street to buy coffee.”

“Time for a walk!”


“Turkey and conversation!”


That about sums up my Thanksgiving. The most eventful part of the day was when my father ordered “The Flintlock”—a supposedly-historic drink from the Colonial period. But what arrived at our table looked more tropical than classic. Who would expect that a drink called “The Flintlock” would be pink, or so tasty?

In any case, this is the first time that I’ve taken note of how my views toward the holiday have changed, and it’s made me appreciate how even powerful associations can be reframed. For me, the switch came after my family found ways to make the day less stressful for everyone. And, as one might expect, my acknowledgment of change only came after several years of pleasant Thanksgivings.

I suppose now is the time to start reframing other holidays I find stressful, but I actually think those are few and far between. And as of tomorrow night, I’ll have another celebratory holiday to enjoy. Chanukah falls early this year (find out why here), so the next eight days are full of outings, gatherings, and candle lightings!

To share some Chanukah cheer (and because The Office informs us that all Cornellians love a cappella), here’s a video to start off the celebrations:

Weather: Pleasant enough for the last day of November!


Anna – 7 out of 10 on the “so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. I’m well rested.

Hannah – 7 out of 10. She worked from home today. In her pajamas.

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