How I Taught My Child the Meaning of Hanukkah with a Christmas Tree

During the holidays, I am reminded of how my daughter expressed her wishes during the holiday season when she was 10 years old. This is the story of my daughter’s determination–and of  how her parents handled it.

hanukahWe lived in a wonderful home in Honolulu. We celebrated Hanukkah. We lit the Menorah for eight nights. We did not have a Christmas tree. My daughter was heartbroken. She wanted a tree, like her friends up and down the street. We explained why there would be no tree and we taught her the story of Hanukkah. We did not give in.


But this darling daughter of mine did not give in either! She was determined. The first year she took family pictures of us out of family albums and taped them on the wall on our porch in the shape of a Christmas tree. That night we lit the Hanukkah candles. We told our daughters stories and sang Hanukkah songs and passed around little gifts while the Christmas-shaped family collage loomed over our shoulders! We allowed her to leave her creative tree taped to the wall.

The next year, I drove into our driveway and noticed through our windows twinkling lights in red and green and white blinking on and off, on and off! Walking into our home I saw that this daughter of mine had lit up our large trees in the living room with Christmas lights! I smiled to myself and thought my how my daughter’s determination and spunk are still at play… great qualities if channeled properly.


What did her father and I say? What would you say? Again, we went through the tradition of lighting our Menorah, telling stories and passing out little presents–adding there would be no Christmas tree–but allowing the tree lights to twinkle.

gramma good

The third year I noticed nothing at the holidays until I went upstairs to tuck her into bed and kiss her good night. And what did I see? A tiny, live Ch

ristmas tree on her nightstand, all lit up and aglow! I smiled to myself. This daughter of mine would get through life with her determination. I sat down and again stressed the importance of our tradition and the pride she should feel for her religion and family history. I left her room with her little tree next to her side, never asking her to remove it from its special place. The next year there was no tree!


My determination as her mother was to be her teacher in a positive manner. Through positive reinforcement of her religion, she would eventually choose her path. Her determination, which was a great part of her being, was not dampened. She is now the mother of five and the Menorah is lit at Hanukkah.

Grammas, it is far better to use sugar rather than vinegar when stressing important points to our grandchildren!! That is a great value.

Do something GOOD today: Keep your own faith while respecting others.

-Gramma Good

gramma good

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