holiday movies and moments


Happy Hanukkah! Happy potato and onion grating, happy latkes, happy applesauce, happy sour cream, happy tradition.

The festival of lights was always celebrated in my childhood home, lightly. We’d say a prayer over the candles, then open a gift each night. The first night, we’d open something small, a coloring book. On the next, we’d open something larger, a Barbie. With each night, the gifts grew increasingly more delightful, but in truth, other than matching outfits in Lord & Taylor boxes from my grandparents, I don’t recall any specific gifts. We rarely remember the presents we can hold. We remember experiences. We remember traditions, tastes, smells, and stories.

For this Hanukkah, candles will be lit, small gifts unwrapped, but it’s my hope that the gifts are those of experience–an envelope promising a movie night in the family room. Where we’ll toast marshmallows in the toaster oven, and pretend to sit beside a magical campfire made of stones, backyard sticks, a flashlight, and red, orange, and yellow tissue paper, aglow. Sleeping bags. A family camp out in the movie room. All we need now is the suggestion of a holiday film for the first night of Hanukkah, suitable to hold the attention of a three year old girl, and three year old train conductor, a forty-three year old man, and his sick thirty-four year old wife who’s too tired to think of grating root vegetables. 

A YEAR AGO: It’s In The Bag
2 YEARS AGO: A Thousand Pardons
4 YEARS AGO: Positively Negative



  1. Polar Express for sure…….you can serve hot-hot-hot–
    hot choc-o-late!! Have fun!!

  2. I’m smack dab in the middle of conversion and we are going to *try* Hanukkah for the very first time tonight! I found a Latke recipe that I’m excited to try out. Fingers crossed this works out!

    Happy Hanukkah Stephanie!

  3. “A Rugrats Chanukah” — we ALL love it! Best line is from Grandpa Boris, talking about latkes in his Eastern European accent:

    “These things have clogged the arteries of our people for 2000 years, yet we survive.”

    There’s a great “back story” of a seniors feud at the JCC…

  4. My first thought was also the Polar Express. One of my kids’ favorites. Or the Nightmare Before Christmas.

  5. It’s not a holiday movie, but the “Curious George” movie was great, and keeps my 3 year old, 5 year old and 43 year old husband’s attention. The music is fantastic and the story funny and light.

  6. Happy Holidays! Polar Express was my first instinct too, but I was reminded you have 3 yr olds. See, I have a 3 yr old too. And while Polar Express was whimsical for her, it was too long to hold her attention, perhaps your wee ones have more patience. She did however, love Mickeys’ Choo Choo Express, it’s a new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse movie and its an hour long. Whatever you choose, you know they will just love having the time with you and your husband. Enjoy!

  7. purely coincidentally, we finally just cleaned up after our day-long latke -making and eating extravaganza, and we’re 11 minutes into Polar Express :)

    happy Hanukkah!

  8. Ugh….Why are people recommending Christmas movies for Hannukah?!? That simply drives me nuts. We live in a great big world filled with many different cultures. It seems so small minded to forget that. I love the thoughtful, imaginative activities that you come up with for your family to enjoy together. Magical campfires will become memories that they carry with them for a lifetime…I don’t think that the movie choice will matter at all! Hannukah is all about miracles…hope that you enjoy every moment, and take time to realize that you are surrounded by them every day (the Beans, Phil’s health…)!!

    1. Carey, I wholeheartedly agree. After the 10th or so comment recommending The Polar Express, I began to wonder if is actually about Hanukkah. (Answer: It is not.) Otherwise why would so many people be suggesting it?

      And if you’re going to suggest a Christmas movie, there are probably much, much better ones to suggest! (No disrespect intended.)

      1. May I continue my, “HELLO, WORLD….Christmas is NOT celebrated by everyone” rant by mentioning the exasperation of having ordered my daughter a dearly coveted ‘Pillow Pet’ in November…only to receive a notice by email that it was backordered…but do not worry, it went on to say….it will arrive in time for the holiday! Oh joy. When I called customer service to let them know that my holiday was not on the 25th of December they were flabbergasted. Seriously. I hadn’t ordered the product for Christmas? What holiday was I referring to? I canceled my order.

        Or how about the cashier that looked in to my daughter’s eyes and said, “What is Santa bringing you this year?” She told them that Santa wasn’t bringing her anything. The woman looked at me and said, “what? What kind of horrible person are you?” Loudly. Ah, the joy of the holiday’s!

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