I am not one of those people who think Chanukah is in any way parallel to or competing with Xmas. I am very attached to the spiritual and historical aspects of Chanukah. (I mean, I have read Rabbi Pinchas Stolper's Chanukah histories twice each already - you should too!)
I am in awe of the Maccabees - not because they won incredible victories over their enemies, especially with the "few" against the "many", but because they were principled and dynamic people who loved Hashem, His Torah, His Land and His People. Rabbi Stolper noted that the Ramban himself wrote, "Were it not for the valiant efforts of the Chasmonaim, Torah and mitzvot would have been obliterated from the Jewish Nation."
Yehuda HaMaccabee and his brothers were truly inspirational individuals, who brought back the nation to G-d. So, with all of the above cited, I believe I know the higher significance of Chanukah!
But when the kids said they're coming home with their kids for Shabbat Chanukah, and my brother said he's coming with his kids and grandchildren on Shabbat Chanukah, I got so excited, the first thing I wanted to do was....go shopping. (It's something in my genes from my Dearest Mother ad 120).
I needed presents (including three birthday) for all age folks, plus prizes for our Chanukah games,
Then I needed food to feed 20 people for each meal and for our Motzei Shabbat Chanukah Party.
Because I was working on Voices Magazine, http://www.voices-magazine.com/, for the past few weeks, I only had two days in which to shop for all our Chanukah needs. It was a whirlwind of wooden toys, cute flashlights, chocolate coins, chickens, salmon, cash, checks and credit card.
I've never undertaken such a gigantic project in a two-day period. I had time just to SHOP and DROP (drop stuff off at the house before I had to go out again).
Last night, after I completed three hours in the supermarket, I came home with a car load of stuff, and B"H, my husband Yisrael was there to help me unload.
When we finished, my entire kitchen floor was covered with bags. It was an amazing site. I don't know why, but I counted the bags - FIFTY FIVE.
Since I did just about all the shopping at once, it was a unique opportunity to see how much we actually buy for a family Shabbat and super-simcha. ALOT.
Well, I've got to get off this blog and start cooking all that food, and wrapping all those gifts. So, I guess I'll wish all of you who tuned in - a HAPPY HEALTHY SAFE CHANUKAH.
May the lights of your Chanukiot (menorahs) cast a light of warm and love in your homes.