Saturday, December 12, 2009

Money, money, money! (for Chanukah)

Elisheva came to me after Shabbos and announced, "you owe me 30 cents!"

It’s true.  That’s our Chanukah thing.

What we have done going back about maybe eight years now is something I read about online.

The first year we did it, I explained the deal.  The first day of Chanukah (unless it was Shabbos), they could choose:  a $20 bill - or a dime.  However, I explained that the dime would double every single day, so on the second day, they’d get 20 cents; 40 cents the third, etc. 

So their choice was a math problem – yes, years before I was homeschooling!  - take the $20 up-front, or take the "doubling dime"?

Elisheva deferred to YM who quickly worked it out and told her to take the dime.  And every year since then, they have. 

Though it may seem at first like a crass “corruption” of the season’s gift-giving mood, money (real and chocolate) actually is by far the more traditional "gift" for Chanukah.  (when I ask Naomi and Gavriel Zev which they’d rather have, they both answer that they’d take the chocolate money)

I think it wouldn't truly feel like Chanukah without gifts of cash for the older kids.  I think this was also the prevalent custom in Europe.  It certainly doesn't have to be huge amounts of money, but something in their pockets is the tradition, and my big kids love it.

And this way of doing it – the doubling dime – is a fun and kind of educational way to give them a modest amount of cash and something to look forward to every year.  The only tough part is having enough change on hand so you can actually give them the right amount each day.  It’s a challenge; sometimes, I get lazy and just add it all up at the end.

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