We have a long-standing tradition in my family around this time of year. It’s appropriately called “The Great Hanukah Psych-Out” and it goes a little something like this (hit it):
About two weeks before Hanukah begins, wrapped presents start to appear on the hearth of the fireplace. Each day, more and more get added as everyone finishes their clandestine shopping and wrapping. And each day, the curiosity grows and grows. I remember catching my father shaking a particularly odd-shaped box with a furrowed brow trying desperately to figure out What the hell IS this?
None of this cute, cuddly Santa crap for us. No thoughts of some mysterious person bringing gifts for everyone that we excitedly wait to magically appear one day. No, way. The presents lovingly come from your family and your family is all about… hazing. Naughty? Nice? Whatever. Game on.
The holiday spirit in our home? Is all about side deals, negotiations and bribes. If you tell me what’s in Box A, I’ll tell you what’s in Box B. You get the drift.
It. Is. Sheer. Brilliance.
When Husband and I first got married, I brought this tradition with me. We sneakily shopped and wrapped the gifts for OldestDaughter and ArtsyDaughter. We laid them out ahead of time. We tortured the hell out of them.
It was great.
It was great until we figured out that OldestDaughter couldn’t take the suspense and proceeded to unwrap every single present, look at it, then re-wrap it. Including her sister’s. She actually unwrapped one, wore it out with friends, THEN re-wrapped it.
It was then I realized that this tradition’s fun and success depended solely on the participants involved. And so, it died for many years… because quite frankly I didn’t have the time or funds for high-stakes technology to guard the gifts from contamination 24/7.
However! This year! It returns! You see, OldestDaughter and ArtsyDaughter are out of the house… And The Swimmy is 4 ½ years old and old enough to begin participating and learning the joy (and hate!) of The Great Hanukah Psych Out.
So far, so good. But she’s got a lot of her mom in her – so I’m gonna keep my eye on this one.