Our Hanukkah Tree
Guideposts|December 2019 - January 2020
A Jewish daughter searches for the perfect giftfor her Christian mother
Mari Pack

I LINGERED AT THE KITCHEN TABLE after Mom had left for work that morning. Tonight would be the fifth night of Hanukkah, and I was at a loss. What do I get my mother? We used to exchange gifts every night of the holiday when my brother and I were kids. Stuffed animals, puzzles and clothes for us. Usually something handmade for Mom and Dad. Now we did just one big gift exchange on the eighth and final night. It was enough to celebrate with candles and family the other seven days. But there were only three days left to think of the perfect present.

I remembered Hanukkahs we’d had growing up. Mom would make latkes while Dad led us in prayers. My brother and I ran to the living room after dinner to pick a present from the pile.

“Just one,” my parents would say.

I would stare at the dining room table, covered with 16 presents between us. I always tried to save the biggest for the last night. I liked having something to look forward to.

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