Articles & Tools

Hanukkah and the Pocket

Author: Sigal Lazarovich (bell volunteer, coach and employment counselor) and bell system
Tips for preparing financially for Hanukkah

Why do we spend so much money on Chanukah? How do you manage to rejoice during the holiday and stay happy even when it ends?

  1. Lack of planning: Let’s start with a little tip – Hanukkah falls every year on the same date. Amazing, isn’t it? So why are we always surprised when we suddenly find our children at home with us instead of going to school? Chanukah, like any children’s vacation, requires financial planning: a budget. Plan a budget in advance and then plan appropriate activities. Try it again this year – and you’ll see the results at the bank exactly eight days later.
  2. Surrender to pressure: There is no special mitzvah to go to performances on Hanukkah. A family night of laughter, a game together or another entertaining pastime – can provide a much more meaningful experience than another Festigal. We know: a child who wants to go to Festigal “like everyone else” can be quite a nuisance when told “no.” It’s much simpler to give in to pressure just to get it off our backs. It also reduces feelings of guilt over inadequate parenting. But the truth? There is no reason to pay hundreds of shekels for a ticket and a few dozen shekels for incidental expenses such as gas, parking and snacks for one weekend outing.
  3. Going to the show : Most of the shows have an “official price” alongside a variety of prices at significant discounts: through credit card companies, consumer clubs, workers’ unions and more. It’s also a good idea to check with your friends and family if they can help you get discounted tickets.
  4. Take snacks and drinks from home: When it comes to food prices in buffets, it seems that the landlord has gone crazy – to the other extreme.
  5. Boredom leads to the mall: Many families see spending time at the mall as a kind of default: a good way to relieve boredom. In summer they escape to the air conditioner and in winter it is more pleasant than wandering the streets. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is a budget disaster. Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with shopping at the mall, but one that you know exactly what its purpose is, come and buy in a businesslike manner and don’t get dragged into an unknown wander around the mall full of temptations. I came, I bought, I went.
  6. Hanukkah coins: You give kids Hanukkah money – and they run to buy the first game that catches their eyes. Give them tools for life and teach them how to conduct themselves correctly – explain to them that while money we received as a gift is suitable for pampering and fun, it is worth checking what else we can do with money and making a list of priorities. For example: encourage them to determine how much of the money will be spent on shopping and how much they should save for the future, which game will give them good value for money and which will not – and let them take responsibility for managing the Hanukkah fee, all according to the age of the child and his abilities, of course.
  7. “What do we do today?”: Transfer to the children some of the responsibility for using the time and alleviating boredom during vacation. We will teach and accustom the children to the fact that the question “What do we do today?” will be addressed to themselves. We parents will help them organize, but children are responsible for finding relevant activities. The role-playing game must begin even before the start of vacation: we will sit with the children, explain to them what we are going towards, each child will make a list of all the things he wants to do during the vacation. We, the parents, will accompany the process, assist with advice, but will always broadcast: “We are in full partnership on the issue of responsibility for your employment during vacation.”

Final tip: Hanukkah ends exactly eight days after it begins. Planning eight days is a feasible task. Ask the Hasmoneans.

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