Does Santa bring Hanukkah gifts?
A few years ago I was driving my granddaughter Lila home from preschool and I heard her tiny little voice say “you know grandma, I want Santa Claus to get me something for Hanukkah. He’s coming to town, don’tcha know?”
Wow, how do you keep yourself from chuckling at a statement like that?
And also, what do you say to a 2-1/2-year old kid from a Jewish family that doesn’t celebrate Christmas?
And also, I’m only the grandma. This is best left to the parents isn’t it? The old Jewish December Dilemma about what to tell your children about why we don’t have a tree or stockings or even Santa Claus.
But Lila’s question was a little different. She already knew that her family celebrates Hanukkah, not Christmas. She just placed Santa into the event. You know, the menorah, the latkes, the driedels and Santa.
I know all these issues get worked out in every family. Parents tell their children about Hanukkah/Christmas in the way that’s comfortable for them and at the age they feel it appropriate for their kids. I was just surprised it came up this way with Lila and at that age, because I suspected her parents hadn’t gotten to that yet.
When I asked Lila who told her that Santa comes on Hanukkah she said it was her nanny, who is Hindu.
Anyway, it’s 3 years later and all those issues are behind us. Lila and all my other grandchildren are thrilled with the 8-day Hanukkah celebration with its candles and chocolate coins and potato pancakes and gifts. And cookies too. We bake cookies at my house. Not to leave by the fireplace for Santa, but for us to all enjoy with a glass of milk.
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the shortening and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and beat until the dough is well blended, smooth and uniform in color. Take off small pieces of dough and shape into small balls about one-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in the remaining sugar to coat the surface. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving an inch space between each ball. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes or until the cookies have spread and are flat and crispy, with lines on the surface. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 6 dozen