Tag Archives: Hanukkah

Warming my heart with tea and books

7 Dec

Yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah. Last night’s tea from my advent calendar was Glitter and Gold.

Looking for a little star power? This sweet, spiced black tea is filled with pretty little gold star-shaped sprinkles. Take a sip and the slow suggestion of cinnamon will warm your body. Your toes will tingle and your mind will turn to fireworks, falling stars, late-night seduction. It’s basically magic.

Ingredients: Black tea, lemon peel, sugar sprinkles, sugar, cloves, natural and artificial flavouring.

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My sister, the giver of the advent calendar,  was the one who explained to me that this tea was to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah. I love this cultural cross-pollination of the Advent calendar!

And that thought brings me to one of my favorite holiday books by Patricia Pollaco,  The Trees of the Dancing Goats.

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Goodreads Summary: Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family’s preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.
Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

This book will warm your heart more deeply than a cup of tea.

Thanksgivukkah

27 Nov

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Thanksgivukkah is a pop-culture portmanteau neologism given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the of  Hanukkah on Thursday, November 28, 2013″. That’s the Wikipedia definition. I had to include it because I loved seeing ” portmanteau neologism ” in a sentence.

There is an abundance of holiday books out now. Here are two that encompass the ideals of Thanksgivukkah.

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From the dust jacket: Old Bubba Brayna can’t see or hear very well. When a bear arrives at her door, lured by the smells of her latkes, she thinks it’s the rabbi. They light the menorah, play the dreidel game and eat the latkes. Before he leaves, Bubba Brayna gives the bear the scarf she knit for the rabbi. And then the rabbi shows up! Author Eric Kimmel and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka serve up a great Thanksgivukkah story.

Less traditional is Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown and illustrated by Stacy Schuett.

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From the dust jacket: Hanukkah in Alaska is unlike anywhere else.Snow piles up over the windows. Daylight is only five hours long. And one girl finds a moose camped out in her backyard, right near her favorite blue swing. She tries everything to lure it away: apples, carrots, even cookies. But it just keeps eating more tree! It’s not until the last night of Hanukkah that a familiar holiday tradition provides the perfect—and surprising—solution.

Have a safe & happy day, however you spend it.

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