holidays · Jewish · slice of life

Making Traditions… Together? #SOL20

I heard about Days United sometime between our decision to pull Ari out of preschool and Rosh Hashanah. It’s a subscription service that provides holiday and culture boxes to families. I ordered the eight-box holiday set. The kids and I adored the Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot boxes. So, yesterday, when my friend Emily asked me if we had received our Chanukah box yet (She gets them for her daughter too and thought this one was amazing!), I said “not yet.” Both kids were awaiting the box’s arrival eagerly.

This evening, as I was preparing dinner, I noticed a package from Days United. THE BOX! I gathered the kids around and we unpacked it together. We got excited about the activities inside and decided to make the Chanukah menorah before bedtime.

Isabelle showered in record time since she knew we’d be doing a craft project together. I laid out the contents of the Star of David Menorah bag on the kids’ craft table and scanned the QR code for the speedy instructions. While the video was too fast to follow (They always are!), I knew I could look at the book and follow the pictures step-by-step.

But I couldn’t.

The booklet’s photos for the traditional menorah, which the kids wanted to make, were too small for me to see which side of each bolt to use. I called Marc since I needed help. He watched the too-fast video. He flipped through the instruction booklet. He couldn’t figure it out either.

WE HAVE FOUR ADVANCED DEGREES BETWEEN US AND WE COULD NOT FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO! (Apparently we needed a master’s in engineering, which neither of us have, to complete the traditional menorah.) The kids were grumbling, but I was groaning the loudest. “This is supposed to be fun.” “This is a craft project we’re supposed to do with the kids, not for them.” “The company’s tag line is ‘making traditions together’… this isn’t together if they’re sitting on the floor while we’re sitting at the table trying to figure this out.”

After I scrapped the traditional menorah (since we were working unsuccessfully on it for over 20 minutes), I declared that we should try to follow the picture directions for the Star of David menorah, which contained slightly larger images. After fiddling around with it for about seven minutes, I finally figured it out. Even Marc was impressed since I am not a handy person by nature.

I allowed the kids to screw in the final two candle holders so they could feel like they completed some aspect of the project.
Ari inserted two candles so the kids’ menorah is ready to go for Thursday night.

I’m feeling better after having written this, but quite frankly, I’m hoping the rest of the items in our box are more fun than this was since this was anything but fun.


21 thoughts on “Making Traditions… Together? #SOL20

  1. Although I am chuckling at your expense (alas! – but you tell the tale with such wit) – your family crafting adventure warms my heart. The Star of David menorah is beautiful. Wishing you and yours a joyful holiday celebration.

  2. I love The Star of David menorah, but now I am wondering about the traditional one. I know – don’t ask! This will be a story to tell in the future. My adult kids are filling me in each holiday with the good, the bad and the ugly of events or projects we had tried over the years. They do make for great laughter now many years later!

    1. I reached out to the company since I realized that the Star of David menorah wasn’t kosher since the candles weren’t the same height. Someone from the company did a live Zoom with me and helped me construct the traditional one, which we’ve been using. 🙂

  3. I love this moan the most, “This is a craft project we’re supposed to do with the kids, not for them!” The concept of these holiday boxes truly sounds like a treasure of family fun – I hope the rest is! This story will result in great memories, great retelling, by all of you, I am sure.

  4. That sounds very frustrating! I can kind of sympathize because of my experience making traditional sugar cookies at Christmas. In the hot climate where I live, it is such a pain to do. The flour gets bugs in it, so you have to watch for that. The dough is really hard to work with and my hands get sticky and everything sticks together. I actually quit doing it a few years ago because I realized I just didn’t enjoy it at all. My children enjoy it and are great at it, so they took over that job. But my daughter isn’t coming home for Christmas this year – the first time in her whole life we won’t have her with us for that holiday. (COVID concerns are keeping her from international travel.) So I’m trying to decide what to do about cookies. Maybe my son will do them on his own? Or maybe I will have to overcome my dislike for holiday baking!

  5. I swear directions that come with do-it-yourself kits aren’t written for the average individual. I think the writers of those directions get a sadistic pleasure out of complicating things. Glad things worked out for all of you.

  6. Your post made me smile this afternoon and reminded me of a weekend, just a few years ago, when I purchased Cozy Coupes for my then toddler grandchildren whose birthdays are 3 days apart. I read the instructions and watched every youtube video I could find only to learn that the almost out of date copyright on the project made putting it together a feat for two strong people. The newer versions were much easier….I had to ask my daughter and daughter in law for help to finish those gifts…after a lost weekend with the coupes. Since then, I’ve told anyone who would listen to buy a used one!

    1. Okay, Googled it and see what it is. I know what those are. (I’ve always called them Flintstones cars since they only go with the kid walking.) I bet those would be hard to put together!

  7. Wow that looks amazing! I had a similar issue with one of the children I nanny – they received a toy for their birthday and really wanted to play with it. It was meant to snap together in a certain way but I couldn’t figure it out. At all. Haha. His dad came out and shoved it in. But it was very fun once it was put together properly!

  8. Sounds familiar! The kits can be tricky. They never seem to be accurately labeled in regards to the age of the person who can do them. I love this cute little menorah! I hope they will always remember making together as a family.

  9. Oh my goodness, your statement about advanced degrees is SO TRUE! I did not inherit my father’s handy-man mentality (much to my wife’s chagrin) so sometimes the “making traditions” idea ends up with something different happening for us all! 😂

    Thank you for making us all feel a little better when we cannot put together that piece that says “assembly time – 15 minutes”. ❤️

    1. Kinda reminds me of Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals, which never take 30 minutes to prepare and cook. (What I lack in my handy abilities, I make up for in the kitchen. I’ve never been able to cook anything of hers in that time frame!)

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