We're starting a new tradition for The Bambina. This will be her first Chanukah, the holiday made semi-famous by the Maccabees and wildly famous by Adam Sandler. As Adam sings, Chanukah has "eight crazy nights," each of which involves gift-giving. It's important to note that the "gift" each night of Chanukah has traditionally been (until recent days of competing with all the gentiles for who can bestow the most stuff on their ingrate kids in the space of one month) something more akin to a stocking stuffer than an actual gift. A pack of cards, some coloring pencils, you get the idea. The "big gift" as it's called always comes on the 8th night. That's when you get the gift that's been on layaway since September at the local Bradlees or Save-On. It's the bike or the Atari or whatever.
As we approach the Inaugural Bambina Chanukah we've decided in Casa d'Haggis that even though the gifts over the course of the eight nights will not be permitted to be lavish regardless, the Third Night of Chanukah will henceforth be the night that The Bambina's gift is the opportunity to give something of hers to someone else. Yep. On the third night, Bambina is getting the chance to dip into her allowance or her gift money and we'll dip into the family money, and we'll donate it to a charity she chooses and/or we'll volunteer at the charity as well. It'll be great as she gets older to work with her to choose a nonprofit that interests her and to see the citizen she will become as a result.
I want to make sure that she understands how life works, how some people can work hard and still be poor, how community members must help each other, and how someone to whom much has been given, much is expected. We ain't rich, but we'll always have enough to at least give something to someone who needs it on a night when we are blessed with gifts. I've seen kids who, by virtue of their parental incomes, have fallen backwards into a pot of gold and then acted like they were born with a precious-metal locater ass. I ain't raisin' that kid in my house.
So this year's charities (selected by me because she's still a baby and because I'm the Mom and I said so!) are as follows:
Helps servicemen and women get home to their families for the holidays by providing money for airline tickets their really huge* military incomes don't cover. We're sending the cash a little early since Chanukah is so late this year.
A local DC charity that helps abused and/or homeless women and their kids. It's hard to relate on one level to people with whom you don't think you have anything in common. And then you imagine a mother escaping an abusive environment with her 6 week old baby and you just want to help however you can.
I know this is an early post since Chanukah doesn't actually start this year till, ironically, December 25th. But as you know from my previous posts, I just love to copy Christmas and get in that Holly Jolly Hasmonean (look it up) Spirit as soon as possible. Today, my early Chanukah charity post. Tomorrow: blinking menorah earrings, baby! ;)