Remembering The Worst First Night of Hanukkah

It’s a wrap.

Hanukkah 2015 is in the books, and all things considered, it was a success.

My children were grateful* for their presents, my oldest son made gifts for us, and he even actively participated in the rituals, lighting the candles each night without setting our house and neighborhood ablaze.

Despite my hangups with Hanukkah, I found myself appreciating it more this year.

However, things did get off to a rocky start because not everyone in the Telisman household appreciated the first night.

Both kids made very aggressive Hanukkah gift lists (It’s a Generation Z thing apparently), which I’m pretty sure they started immediately after opening their final presents on the eighth night of last year.

I laughed when my oldest showed me his list, long enough to have been composed on an entire roll of toilet paper.

“So you’re not getting most of these,” I broke it to him.

“Oh yes I am.”

If I wore glasses, this was the point in the conversation where I would have removed them. Instead I sighed.

“This isn’t terrorism,” I said. “It’s Hanukkah, so don’t treat your gift ideas like a list of demands. You have no leverage because you don’t have hostages. Well I guess Mom and I kind of are.”

On the first night of Hanukkah, my wife sat our children down to attempt to temper their expectations. She recited a brief historical overview, and that was good because I would have told them the Passover story. Then she emphasized that there’s more to Hanukkah than just presents. You can imagine how much of that a 3 and 7-year-old absorbed.

“I don’t want to hear any complaining about presents,” she admonished. “If you do then we’re taking them away.”

My oldest was easily satisfied. His first present was digital and required no cleanup. He got what he wanted, gems to fortify his army in that fakakte Clash of Clans game that every single American second grader is addicted to.

“Thank you so much,” he said.

*My youngest, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as appreciative. He panted with excitement as he ripped away the silver and blue wrapping of his present. Once the dinosaur puzzle revealed itself to him, he paused and looked at us as though this were some terrible mistake, and then back at this awful changeling in his arms.

He threw it to the floor.

“I don’t want this.”

He glared at me.

“Don’t look at me,” I said. “She got it for you.”

“I don’t want this. I want another present.”

“What did I just finish telling you?” My wife said.

You didn’t say “I got you a shitty puzzle,” I thought.

The tears streamed down his face. “I don’t like Hanukkah!”

“But you love puzzles,” my wife pleaded.

“No I don’t!” He shouted and began stomping on his present.

My wife turned to me, and we both cracked up at the spectacle. Good thing neither one of us is religious or we would have shamed him in the name of God.

He carried on at this great injustice. Victims of civil forfeiture have responded more calmly.

“Bring me another present!” He demanded of my wife, who was doing her best to suppress her laughter with her hand.

“I thought you don’t like Hanukkah,” I said. “You just said that.”

“Be quiet, Daddy,” he shouted with daggers in his eyes.

“Calm down,” I said, trying to be an adult. Meanwhile I whispered to my wife that we should give him another puzzle for night two that represented the evolution of our planet. “Why don’t you try playing with it? You might like it.” I handed it to him and he smacked it out of my hand.

“No, you’re stupid, Daddy!”

“I may be stupid, but you’re still stuck with this puzzle,” I taunted.

He lunged at me, and I took the beating while still laughing. He then stomped on his puzzle a little more. He caught me smirking.

“Stupid Daddy.”

“I know.”

Then to really stick it to me, he said, “You have stupid nipples.”

The first night of Hanukkah 2015 will be remembered as The Night of The Disastrous Dinosaur Puzzle and My Stupid Nipples.

Maybe it was necessary because he loved the rest of his gifts, and there were no more hysterics. After getting it out of his system, he recovered nicely.

But my nipples still feel very insulted.

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Filed under: Hanukkah, Uncategorized

Tags: presents

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    Chocolate Diapers

    I am a vitamin D-deficient former Floridian--who, despite the winter--loves Chicago. I contradicted convention (and common sense) by moving FROM the beach to the Midwest, but Lou Malnati's and any Italian beef sandwich reinforce that I made the right decision. I also got a wife and two sons out of it, and I would do anything for my family, except miss a Miami Hurricanes football game. This is my take on fatherhood. You can contact me at Thank you for reading!

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