This difficult December we need all the beauty and whimsy we can find. I pull the box of Chanukah things out from under my bed. Its corners bear tufts of cat fur from where the cat has been using it to scratch his back all year long. Inside are two chanukiyot made of clay. One is contemporary and blue, and the other shaped like Noah's Ark -- a gift to my son when he was born. I spread a length of tinfoil down the center of the dining table to hold them, and I add the giant wooden chanukiyah that my brother made when I became bat mitzvah. Around all of these I scatter dreidels: wooden, plastic, made of LEGO. Silver and blue tinsel drapes like bunting from the curtain rods, and shiny metallic papel picado banners adorn the living room wall, like the ones I used to see all over San Antonio at Fiesta, though these are blue and silver and they read Happy Chanukah and חג שמח. I will relish the candles' light when the time comes. The dreidels and chocolate coins all over the dining table, the sparkling garland decking our halls, make me twitch a little. They make this small condo feel cluttered and busy. I remind myself that someday my child will have outgrown the desire to spangle our home with tinsel, and I will feel wistful when this chaos is gone.
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