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Oh, Hanukkah, Oh, Hanukkah, You've Created More Clutter In Our House

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

Remember this post from last week? Well, forget it. Exactly what I didn’t want to do, I did. I ran around like a crazy person the first couple days of Hanukkah to grab last-minute gifts for Preston. But rather than getting eight big gifts for each night, we went with one, and several smaller gifts (the equivalent of stocking stuffers), so he had—and still has—something to open each night, after we light the candles and sing Hanukkah songs. Preston really couldn’t care less about opening gifts. I have to chase him around the house just to get him to open one—like I said, this is more for my enjoyment than his. The highlight of the holiday is what happened at my family Hanukkah party on Friday night, when he freaked over a plain white box…

I took a short video of the mayhem that ensued when the gift-giving part of the evening commenced. See it here. Preston began jumping up and down and screaming over the site of a plain white box. A plain white box! The exciting part for him was ripping off the wrapping paper, so when he uncovered a box he was too overwhelmed with all the screaming and clapping to even care about what was inside—a red Chicago Blackhawks jersey. The box could’ve been empty and he would’ve been just as happy.

I always love getting new ideas for birthday presents and whatnot so here's our list of gifts this year, please share yours below. (We are very thankful for all the thoughtful and generous gifts Preston got this year—he may not understand how lucky he is yet, but we certainly do.)

Night 1

Our dear cousins Joanne and Gary, who are out of town, sent along a gift for Preston that I absolutely love—the Land of Nod “Oh Hanukkah Play Set.” This is a genius toy for Jewish kids: It comes with a wooden menorah and colorful wooden candles they can put together and “light” themselves; a wooden dreidel; a couple of wooden latkes and a wooden frying pan; and some wooden Hanukkah gelt. It’s a great way to involve them in the ceremonial lighting of the candles each night, and teach them about the traditions of the holiday. 

Night 2

We told Preston to pick out his next gift from the pile of wrapped presents, and he chose one of the smallest ones, a Melissa and Doug Kazoo: Preston is in an instruments phase. This provides endless hours of musical entertainment for all of us. My in-laws brought over dinner on Wednesday, and got him the cutest gift: A Cars 2 Lightening McQueen faux leather bomber jacket. I have no idea where they got it, but it’s pretty amaze. It reminds me of the red-and-black faux leather Michael Jackson “Thriller” jacket I used to wear in the ‘80s. Don't make fun.

Night 3

He opened a Disney/Pixar Cars 2 Spy Mater Garage that he got from our aunt and uncle, Toby and Neal. Needless to say, he hasn’t stopped playing with it. This is what I keep trying to peel him away from each night so he can open his other presents. (Spoiled? Guilty!)

Night 4

This was the night of our annual family Hanukkah party at my parents’ house. We gave him the aforementioned Blackhawks jersey (in a size 2T-4T, so we'll get a few years out of it), which we got from a local department store in the suburbs called Von Maur. He also got thoughtful gifts from family and friends: a Wedgits Starter Set; a Melissa and Doug train puzzle; Disney books from my great cousin Marcy; and a Wheelies Disney/Pixar Cars 2 Racing Rivalry Track.

Night 5

Preston’s pick again, and again he chose the smallest present in the pile: A Toy Story Woody Harmonica. It’s actually a great harmonica and it comes with instructions for how to play a few popular kids’ songs (“Row, Row, Row Your Boat" among them). Anything he plays is music to our ears.

Night 6

Jews like to get together with family on Christmas too, so we spent Christmas Day at our brother and sister-in-law’s house, for—what else?—lox and bagels. This was also an opportunity to exchange gifts for the kiddos: They got him two awesome Play-Doh sets—can you believe he’s never played with Play-Doh before? I’ve been holding off as long as possible. They got him the Doctor Drill ‘n Fill Playset (because of his obsession with brushing his teeth obv), and the Play-Doh Disney/Pixar Cars 2 Playset – Mold N Go Speedway. He has no idea the hours of fun we're in for...

And our gift for him that night was the big one: the Alex Little Jumpers Trampoline. I’ve been dying to get this for him, but wasn’t sure I was ready for it. (Yes, me, the worrier.) I did a little research first: They can’t jump too high, or fall very far since it’s built close to the ground. It stores easily, too. This thing rocks. He was tired out after 10 minutes on it. See the video I took this morning (second video on the page). I wish the weight limit was more than 80 lbs. so I could jump with him. 

Night 7

Is it over yet? Nope. But the gifts are…except for a couple of little things I picked up along the way, like Bee Movie (on sale at Toys R Us for $6). The movie I really wanted to get him (or us) isn't out yet: Lady and the Tramp. The release date was pushed back from December to February. Imagine my disappointment at Best Buy the other day.

Night 8

Juggling balls. Yes, the colorful kind. Secretly, I want to master the art of juggling. Not so secretly, Preston loves anything in the shape of a ball. It's something we can do together—a win-win for both of us.

The other thing we wanted to get him that was a big fail were the ever-popular Magna-Tiles. It's probably his favorite thing to play with at my parents' and brother and sister-in-law's houses, but apparently the factory in Thailand was destroyed by the recent floods so there’s a shortage right now, and the prices of Magna-Tiles have gone way up as a result. Of course this only makes me want them more.


*I am not being paid to endorse any of these companies or toys but, honestly, how fun would that be?