Over the years I’ve been to quite a number of Christmas parties. I don’t remember much the ones from my childhood, though I have had a blast at college and work gatherings over the years. More than a few were somber, if not depressing, events sponsored by the parents of friends.
Then take the party we went to last night. Despite one of the most elaborately decorated homes I’ve seen in recent years – consider the table full of glass houses softly illuminated by internal lights – this event was more the freewheeling style event familiar to our Hanukkah family get-togethers.
Kids, high on chocolate-chocolate chip cookies, were colliding in the hallways. Some were climbing on the furniture while others were hiding underneath coffee tables. Others still were dancing in circles in the living room.
Parents were chatting happily as libations freely poured. Sound off, people would stop to watch The Mummy Returns on the TV in the play room. Some kids, like Seth, were petrified of the rotting mummy man and had to turn away, but couldn’t stop themselves from looking back at the frightful images.
When it was time to open up presents, we told Seth not to expect much. After all, we do not know these neighbors much beyond the kid birthday level. Yet, they’ve always been exceptionally nice to us.
So Seth was very excited to receive a large box which contained fire rescue and construction trucks. The set, which was packaged in the blue and white box you commonly see Target-brand toys packaged in, came complete with power and rescue tool accessories. Two male figurines are slightly reminiscent of The Village People.
Seth loved the present so much, he slept with the H.E.R.O.E.S. badge affixed to the collar of his pajamas. I told Seth the badge made him the Fire Chief. He woke up three times in a panic that it was gone. Apparently the boy thought his humbug dad had taken it off. I assured him it was right there on the bed and put it back on.
Seth also received a white convertible Corvette Matchbox and some pencils with HUGE erasers. But to me the best present was Dreidel Man. What is a Dreidel Man you ask?
I’m so glad you ask. Well, most of you know that a Dreidel is a spinning top used to celebrate Hanukkah. Kids spin it to win the gelt, chocolate coins wrapped in aluminum foil. It’s a nice gateway toy for teaching your kids how to gamble.
Well, the Gumby Dreidel – which I’ve never seen before – is essentially a Dreidel man with bendable arms and legs ala Gumby and a spinning handle at the top. No, it won’t spin, but it is still freaking hilarious.
Considering every member of my family has The Dreidel Song (click on the play button if the music doesn’t play) ringing through their heads, this was the perfect gift. And as I posted a few days ago, this just further illustrates the blending of our cultures.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah all!
Here’s the Dreidel Song in Yiddish.