Celebrating the holidays with our grandchildren

Holidays are such a special time.

Family. Food. Dishes. Tension.

The holidays present joy as well as challenges to families,  whether we live close to one another or we must travel distances to enjoy each other’s company.

Because I am the Travelling Grandma, let me tell you how we adjust to holiday festivities.    002

Sometimes we have to rearrange the calendar.

For instance… While it is true that our religious holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover begin at certain hours on certain nights, we have often chosen to start the holiday one day in advance in order to give the families time to drive back to their respective homes and then have the next day of celebration with their husbands’ families. This worked well for a couple of years when the grandchildren were young enough not to notice the fraud.

The following years presented strategic planning that rivalled the invasion of Europe in WWII.

We drive to Montreal for Rosh Hashanah with the Toronto challahs in tow. Then home for a few days and turn around for Yom Kippur in Buffalo with goodies for Breaking of the Fast. Passover requires much discussion and many telephone calls. We all want to be together to share memories and make new ones…who spilled the wine, stumbled on words from the Hagadah or remembered what was in their plague bags. We remember parents and grandparents who sat at the Seder table. When Erev Pesach falls on a Friday through Monday night, we are so happy. Unfortunately, we do not control the calendar and there are nights of silent tears and longing.

Chanukah is a frequent challenge as is Purim because of school and work schedules and responsibilities. However, we try to adjust to these challenges by making them at convenient times.

This year for instance, Chanukah will be celebrated when the families are together for Christmas holidays. There will be latkes, candles and gifts. What could be better?  Without the kids, it’s not worth the latkes…with them, it’s heaven!


So today I went Chanukah shopping for our loves. When the sales person asked me what kind of wrapping paper I wanted, I said Chanukah paper, and she told me that it had been put away for next year. I smiled and told her to wrap the presents in any paper she wanted.

Holidays are holidays…we plan to have fun!

-Didi Marks

Didi Marks is an educator who left the classroom and developed a private practice specializing in remediation and learning skills coaching.  She is currently retired and divides her time between Toronto and Florida with her husband Alan of 53 years and their 13 year old dog Sugar.   Didi has two daughters, three grandchildren, and two grand-dogs.  Unfortunately, her daughters’ families live in cities that are in opposite directions, which necessitates long drives on a regular basis.  In her spare time Didi can be found doing aqua-aerobics, playing bridge, reading, and baking her famous “killer-brownies” and “car-cookies” to bring to her grandchildren.



1 Comment
  • Amy
    Posted at 07:41h, 20 December Reply

    I love your blog! I so enjoy how you tell a story. Thank you for being our traveling grandma. We look forward to celebrating Hanukkah with you in a few days.

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