Holiday Fun

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017 by


With Christmas fast approaching, people are getting ready to create new memories and new traditions or reinforce established ones.

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I figured I’d share my perspective on the holiday season in general. As people know, Ari and I celebrate Chanukah, but we also appreciate other holidays.

1. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, which involves the gift of being with friends and family. I love making the Thanksgiving meal and hosting the holiday. This year was a bit different, as Ari and I were invited over to a friends’ house, where we had a lovely time. But that didn’t deter us from hosting Thanksgiving anyway. The day after Thanksgiving, we had Friendsgiving, where we made a Thanksgiving dinner, with all the trimmings, for a dear friend. And we all had a blast.

2. Although Arielle and I celebrate Chanukah, we also embrace Christmas. We are hosting our first Christmas party this year, and we are nervous because we want to be great hosts in this new-to-us terrain.

3. The Christmas lights really help stave off depression during the darkest time of the year.

4. When my brother and I were kids, we would judge the decorations of each house and deem which house had the best Christmas decorations.

5. My favorite, most memorable Chanukah gift was a ventriloquist doll, named Willie Talk. I was into ventriloquism for awhile (no, I wasn’t any good at it) and kept the doll for years. But I did a dumb thing: At the time, my mom smoked, so I stole one of her cigarettes, lit it, opened the doll’s mouth, and inserted the cigarette. The cigarette fell out and burned a hole in Willie’s shirt. Lesson learned: don’t smoke and don’t play with cigarettes. And ventriloquist dolls shouldn’t smoke either.

6. I love latkes, but they are really unhealthy. Nothing like carbohydrates and grease to contribute to a poor eating habit. I don’t make them for Chanukah; the holiday also encourages eating other grease-laden foods, such as donuts. OK, I admit it, we had donuts. We can’t always take the high road.

7. The fancy Chanukah candles we got this year for our menorahs suck. They keep falling out, and we must heat up the bottom of each candle to make them stick.

8. We’ve bought into the Festival of Lights on a new level. We bought some lights that illuminate holograms of Jewish stars, menorahs, and dreidels. Problem: the lights are nice; the holograms are lame.

9. Ari and I do extreme dreideling, which is all sorts of fun. While the dreidel is spinning on a book, for example, we toss the dreidel in the air and see if it can land on the book and still be spinning continuously.

These dreidels are for show, not for spinning.

These dreidels are for show, not for spinning.

10. One fond memory I have of extreme dreideling took place in a previous workplace. I brought dreidels for my co-workers. One co-worker showed extreme dreidel prowess and turned out to be advanced in the ways of the dreidel. One day, she was spinning the hard-plastic dreidel with a passion, and the thing fell out of her window, which was opened just a crack to let fresh air in. Well, the said dreidel spun out of the window and fell onto the street 20-plus stories down. She and I looked at each other shocked, and we were scared it hit someone in busy downtown Chicago. We later searched for the dreidel, scared it would have blood on it. Luckily, it didn’t, but the dreidel’s stem was a bit crooked. Lesson learned: Dreidel responsibly.

Do you have any holiday memories you would like to share? I would love to hear them.

Happy Holidays to all!

Tags: , ,

4 Responses to Holiday Fun

  1. Nancy Stordahl had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    What a fun post. I laughed when I read #5. A ventriloquist doll would be a memorable gift for sure! Never had one of those! I have tons of fond holiday memories and for that I am very grateful. Thank you for the delightful post, Beth. Wishing you and Ari all the best in 2018. xo

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Nancy,

      Yes, number 5 is pretty funny. Loved the doll and all my memories with it. Holiday memories can be amazingly awesome. Have a wonderful 2018.

  2. Rebecca had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth – This was a fun post! Like Nancy stated, #5 was a funny one. I have some of those dolls too and love them. I also collect other dolls, if you recall, and recently purchased quite a few. A complicated topic I might write about someday. (These dolls look real and look to be around 2- years old…)

    I will always cherish my childhood memories, especially those connected to the holidays. After I moved to the U.S., I didn’t have that many good memories. In fact, all the dark ones related to Christmas (my grandma died on Jan. 2 – the most painful and biggest loss of my life – plus my diagnosis). I started having a Christmas tree only a few years ago. I refused to celebrate the holidays for a long time because I felt too sad inside. I plan to build more good memories I can associate the holidays with.

    Now, my childhood memories are amazing! My grandma would start cooking days in advance – prepare the meats and gather all the natural ingredients. My entire family would come to join us. Her cooking was amazing, but I do remember eating too much and throwing up the next day. I had such a sensitive stomach! But it didn’t matter. I was home. And my grandma was with me. All the time. I was happy.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories with us. And I wish you many more.


    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Rebeca,

      I appreciate your comment and your sharing your good and not-so-good memories. Your life with your grandma sounds amazing (although the throwing up part might not have been so good). And I do remember that you have a doll collection. I would love to read a post on that someday.

      I’m sorry that you have so many painful memories. It’s difficult to build good ones sometimes. Hoping 2018 has some good memories in store for you.


Add Your Comment, Feedback or Opinion Here

Your email is safe here. It will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>