And . . .now it's Hanukkah. (Okay, okay, when I started writing this post, it really WAS still Chanuka. I'm keeping the original language for the integrity of the piece. Yeah, the integrity, man!)
We have a fairly strange Hanukah tradition that has developed over time. One night of Hanukka the kids will each get a new pair of pajamas. This year I found each of them a pair for under $5 at one of the local Goodwill stores - SCORE! Our tradition is that whichever night the kids get their new pair of pajamas they rush upstairs to put them on while I make hot chocolate for all of us. As soon as they are changed we all hop in the car to go look at Christmas lights. Yes, I told you it was a strange Hannukkah tradition, but it works for us!
The second night of Hanukkah fell on a Sunday this year. Most Sundays we go to my in-laws for dinner, and this Sunday was no different, which meant we celebrated Chanukkah in front of their Christmas tree. My ILs got around our plea to cut down on the number of gifts they shower on the kids for Christmas by getting them each a present for Chanukah, which means we do NOT need to buy them a present for the night. Win!
Since DH and I are both teachers, we have another tradition that one night of Hanukah the gift will always be a new book for each child. This year DH bought the books at his school's book fair, which meant not only were the prices discounted, the profits of the fair went to his school's library. Win/win!
On the fourth night of Hanukkah (anyone else hearing the music of the "Twelve Nights of Christmas" in their head?) we gave the kids make your own sundaes. We wrapped up a different topping for each child to unwrap and then pulled out the ice cream, whipped cream, bowls, and spoons.
On the fifth night of Chanukkah ("...my true love gave to me...") we gave the kids a gift I made myself (I'm so crafty, I know.) This year, with me subbing most days, I knew there would be days that the kids would get home five to ten minutes before either DH or I got home. In September we gave the kids house keys. For Hanukkah I made them personalized key chains. I bought thin wooden circles at a local craft store (22 cents each) in which I drilled a hole through at the top (go me with my power tools!). After painting each circle a different color, I modge-podged words and pictures that I had cut out from magazines onto each key chain.
Twin A (my video game lover) got a picture of Sonic on one side and words like "clever" and "funny" on the other side. Twin B (currently obsessed with professional wrestling) received a key chain with a personalized paper wrestling championship belt buckle on the one side and the logo of the WWE along with other words that describe him on the other side. The Princess' key chain had her name (with the letters cut out from various magazines) on the one side and then a ton of great descriptive words on the other. I also had to buy key rings and metal clasps for this gift (approximately $3) and some more Modge Podge because I was out (around $6 - but I will be using that bottle for many other crafts, too).
Wood circles = 22 cents/each
Key rings/clasps = $1/each
Amount of Modge Podge used for each = approximately $1/each
I would love to end this section by writing, "The look on the kids' faces when they saw their personalized key chains and realized how much time and effort went into making such a special gift = priceless," but in reality the kids looked at both sides of their key chain for about fifteen seconds each, commented on a couple parts, and then had to be reminded to thank me.
I am going to tell myself that they will appreciate this gift more as they get older. Yeah. They will. I'll just hang on to that idea.
For this night, the kids each received the gift of one-on-one time with the parent of their choice, going or doing whatever they wanted (within monetary reason) some time over winter break. Hopefully this will not be more expensive than I am anticipating.
The seventh night of Hanukkah fell on Shabbat (Friday night). This is when my whole extended family gets together to celebrate Hannukkah. My parents and my sister buy presents for the kids, so DH and I are off the hook for that night. This year the adults did a pollyanna among ourselves for the first time, which was WONDERFUL!!!
DH and I had talked about getting the kids a "big" gift for the last night of Chanukkah, but it turns out his definition of a "big" gift meant a "BIG GIFT" where my definition had really meant "big gift," and since he's the one who did the shopping for it, I lost out. So much for any money we saved being frugal for the other nights.
P.S. Bonus points to anyone who noticed who many different spellings of Hanukkah I used when writing this post. Record your answer in the comments section along with any frugal gifts YOU have given your own kids.