Chanukah this year was lots of fun. The kids are old enough to understand the story and the reason for celebrating. (You mean it's not just about presents?!?!) The older three played dreidles with M'n'M's and had a blast. They ate gelt, latkes, and homemade sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) with gusto.
We started to let them light their own menorahs, which for Dadam was a difficult adjustment to make. But they loved doing it themselves and I think they felt more involved. Participating instead of just observing makes such a difference in feeling connected.
Elie had been using a menorah she made in school, way back in the day, when she was almost three. It was a long block of wood, with 10 nuts glued on for candle holders. (The shamash had two nuts stacked together.) Elie had decorated it at school by painting it.
This year Isaac and Talia expressed an interest in having their own menorahs. So I decided that we'd do it as a project one day. It happened that I was watching some friends of ours that day, so we had six kids doing the project.
I had looked around and decided that I could make a cuter menorah, by not using the nuts. I went to the craft store and found some oh-so-cute wooden, round (with one flat side) dowel toppers. The holes were big enough that we wouldn't have to struggle to put candles in and I was sure they would look lovely on top of our 2 x 2 wooden pieces.
I hot glued the round candle holders to the menorahs, the kids had a great time painting them and we brought them to our Chanukah celebration that night! Each menorah had six candles in it, all the children had their own menorah, there were a LOT of candles.
And as the candles started burning down, Adam turned to me and said "We're idiots." Have you already seen what the problem was? I still didn't. Adam pointed out that we had placed candles into a FLAMMABLE holder. When the candles burned down, the wick would lay against the inside of the little wooden dowel toppers and catch.them.on.fire.
So we have some slightly charred menorahs. We watched them closely to make sure that they didn't catch catrostrophically on fire. Now I'm on the hunt for a solution to make the menorahs useable, but no longer flammable. I suppose it's not a holiday, if someone doesn't do something that is epic. ;-)