Monday, December 10, 2012

The Art of Double Dipping

 Everyone has holiday traditions. Some of us have more than others.
When Child #1 was a baby I made the rookie parenting mistake of deciding to celebrate my husband's Jewish heritage with eight days of Hanukkah followed by Christmas. This wouldn't be so terrible if I had decided to tie the eight days of Hanukkah to say, doing kind deeds for others.

Instead (another rookie parenting move) I chose to train my children in the art of double dipping.

We have eight days of Hanukkah gifts, candles and the dreidel gambling game followed by the all-out gift bonanza that goes by the name of Christmas morning. I've tried to lower expectations on the Hanukkah front. My kids almost always get a Hanukkah toothbrush. This year its the kind that has flashing lights that don't turn off until you've brushed your teeth for a solid minute.

I know! Exciting Stuff! I might follow it up with new underwear or socks.

Even though we're sort of maxed out on holiday traditions I decided maybe we could squeeze in one more. The goal of this additional tradition is to help my kids understand the holidays aren't all about double dipping for gifts, cookie parties and rides on the Santa train.

In the past we've adopted families who need a little extra help to make it through the season. I've done the shopping and wrapping and the kids have signed the cards. This year I'm asking the kids to make a contribution from their own personal funds.

Because I like to pretend my family is a semi-democracy, I've given them a choice. They can contribute a set dollar amount or a percentage of the total amount spent.

The Hanukkah Mitzvah and being forced to apply math principles on a micro level; it's my favorite new win-win holiday tradition.


Beylit said...

Soup kitchens and food banks were the good deeds of the holiday season for us. Everything always tied to food in my family. It is something that I am eternally grateful that my mom made us do.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Such a a kind spirit, Johanna.

I think as a parent your job is a never ending one and to instill such unselfish values into your children says SOOOO much for you.

Parents are often underplayed and under appreciated but today I'd like to honor you by saying "Job well done!"

ENJOY ALL your holidays. After all it is a time of love, giving, and celebrating.

Joanne Noragon said...

You are one smart mama. It's still about instilling values. We really aren't born with them, we are taught them. At home.

Barbara Watson said...

Giving from sacrifice (their own pockets) is the gift your kids will remember forever. The way you've presented it to them is a great idea.

Alison DeLuca said...

Excellent idea, and I've noticed that my kid becomes a much more pleasant person after we help someone out. You rock, Mom!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Sacrifice is a great way to experience the joy of the season.

Misha Gerrick said...

I think this is an excellent idea. Hope the kids enjoy it.

I always found that giving was the best part of the Christmas season.


Lisa Gail Green said...

What an AWESOME idea!!! I love it. We only do Hanukkah, but it still gets a bit overboard in my opinion. I think doing a good mitzvah is a great thing to incorporate.

Shell Flower said...

I love how you slipped a little math into the holiday tradition of helping others. Way to go on both fronts.

Hart Johnson said...

Oy! Yeah, I can see the risk of double dipping expectations! Good to get them in the mind frame to give as well. My daughter, though, NEVER would have had anything to contribute. Man, money slips through her hands so fast.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a great thing to teach them, Johanna. (Hope they don't double-dip their chips though.)

Johanna Garth said...

Food based charity is important! Pyramid of needs.

Thank you so much Michael!

Joanne, so true.

Barbara, I hope so. There were some initial grumbles.

Alison, isn't it funny how that works.

Michael, I agree.

Misha, I know. I love seeing people open up their gifts.

Lisa, we were talking last night about how either holiday can go overboard.

Shell, sneaky right!

Hart, my daughter is the opposite. It's soooo painful for her to give up her money.

Alex, I can guarantee they do and they get in trouble for it!

Unknown said...

Hey, my kids could use a toothbrush like that. :D

Unknown said...

Awesome toothbrugh!!! I think that's a great idea about having the kids help pay for the presents of others. I may have to follow suit. =)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My cousin is Christian and his wife a Jew, and they've always done the traditions of both religions during the holidays.

Emily R. King said...

I think a toothbrush is a wonderful gift. The gift of no cavities is great! :)

The Bookworm said...

That is a great idea and a wonderful example to set for your kids.

Gail said...

what a wonderful idea.

I want a toothbrush like that.

Carol Kilgore said...

Good for you! Parenting is all about being creative :)

Nicki Elson said...

Having them contribute from their own funds brings it to a whole new level - a good way to start a habit of lifelong giving. Excellent use of the double dip!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think it's wonderful that you're teaching your kids to be generous. That's especially relevant during the holiday season, when so many people are focused on presents for themselves that they lose sight of everything else that the holidays are about. And it's wonderful for the people that you and your family are helping, because it makes their holiday brighter. :)