Now, I can’t lie. As an only child and grandchild, I got hooked up as a kid on Hanukkah, with eight nights of splendid presents resting by the blazing menorah, dreidels spinning, potato latkes frying. But I, along with other children of the eighties, got older, and eight nights of presents morphed into eight nights of socks, then three nights of bath towels, then finally the illustrious “my presence is a present.” Any family heirloom menorahs live at my mom’s house, so I bought an electric menorah that sat at the window, and then, a plastic hazard-inducing contraption from Bed Bath & Beyond. The beautiful menorah given to us as a wedding gift by my best friend also, ironically, lives in storage at my mom’s house. Potato “pancakes” came in a twelve-pack from the freezer aisle. At that weird time between being a child and having children, it’s amazing how easy it is to allow traditions to fade, rather than make the effort to uphold them. Daily rituals can obscure special traditions, because those are just easier to conquer. But this amazing year, my first full year in recent memory without studying for exams, slaving at a law firm, or planning a wedding, needed to be different.
Sticking with tradition, I offered applesauce for dippage. But I also turned up a notch by whipping up some crème fraiche and purchasing fresh salmon roe to dollop on top. Kutsher’s Tribeca, a downtown spot serving elevated soul food of the Jewish kind, inspired this variation.
- New York City – we live here.
- Florida Gators – because, obviously.
- Food – because, obviously. I made it easy by writing this for Brit + Co!
- Heritage – something pertaining to our Jewish heritage (which, I must note, Doug interpreted as appropriate to purchase me these cat socks. We still have some kinks to work out with the whole theme thing).
- Color – this year, we went with green.
- Life Hack – gifts that will make our lives easier in some way.
- Splurge – the wildcard.
- Five Bucks and Under – unless you cop out and buy a pack of gum, this is actually the hardest gift to find.
Are you ready to bring back the holiday traditions in your family? Even with one night left on the Hanukkah side of things, it’s never too late. Share yours in the comments!