That’s right, kids! It’s Chanukkah time! Time to fire up the old menorah and sit back as the Cutter continues his annual tradition of making eight points which are only vaguely related to the holiday and each other.
1. Chanukkah – It’s really not that big of a deal
Non-Jews are still shocked when I tell them that Chanukkah is a fairly minor holiday in the Jewish religion. No matter how many times I try to explain this, many people just can’t seem to wrap their heads around it.
It’s a nice little holiday and all, but if it didn’t happen to fall around the same time as Christmas, I imagine it would be barely acknowledged. And the only reason we exchange gifts at Chanukkah is because American culture decided that people of all faiths must exchange gifts in December.
Hooray for American commercialism!
2. Optimus Prime – The Optimus Prime of gifts
The Cutlet hasn’t reached the point where she is set on receiving particular gift. (Likely because the child wants for nothing!) I’m sure in a few years there will be one toy that she absolutely HAS to have, but for now, we’re free from having to track down the season’s hot toy.
In 1984, my parents weren’t quite as lucky. Like many school-aged boys that year, I desperately wanted an Optimus Prime action figure. Apparently, that high demand made Optimus tough to locate. My mother had to search through quite a few stores before she was able to locate one.
As it turned out, my elementary school’s winter concert fell on the first night of Chanukkah that year. So my parents – wisely realizing that once I unwrapped Optimus, I wouldn’t want to leave – didn’t give him to me until the second night.
Somewhere along the way, I accidentally stepped on Optimus and broke his leg. But fortunately, I was able to buy a brand new replacement.
And as you may have noticed, I still have that replacement in my possession.
3. Ugly sweaters = The hip thing to wear?
Speaking of gifts, Mrs. Cutter got me an awesome “ugly” Chanukkah sweater. Apparently, it’s now cool to wear ugly sweaters, and most big retail chains are selling their own “ugly” lines.
Here’s a question: If you’re wearing a sweater that was intentionally designed to be an ugly sweater, doesn’t that kind of ruin the fun? I thought the point of ugly sweater parties was that you were mocking articles of clothing that someone thought was genuinely nice.
I blame the hipsters.
4. Target Portrait Studio: Not a fan
Target was having some sort of deal on holiday pictures at their Portrait Studio over Thanksgiving weekend. Feeling the need to have our children professionally photographed (in addition to the millions of pictures we’ve taken ourselves), we dressed all three kids up in fancy clothes and headed to the local Target.
I hope we got a really good deal, because I wasn’t impressed with their service. They have a policy of allotting ten minutes for each family that comes in, regardless of size and age. Unfortunately, it can take ten minutes just to get twin babies out of their car seats, let alone position them for a picture.
The staff didn’t seem to be especially good at dealing with babies, and I got the impression that they just wanted us out of there as quickly as possible.
They informed us that we came at one of their busiest times (duh) and we would have been better off coming a few months earlier. Mrs. Cutter pointed out that since the babies weren’t even three months old, it wasn’t really an option to come much earlier.
We’ve found that the twins’ pictures are much cuter since emerging from the womb. Besides, it would have been very difficult to get a picture with the Cutlet lying between them.
5. Saturday football is back!
A few years ago, I complained because there were no more Saturday NFL games in December. It used to be that once the college football season ended, the NFL would hold a handful of games on Saturday.
Inexplicably – especially since the league insists on playing Thursday games – they stopped. This left a small void in the lives of football fans like myself.
To my great relief, Saturday games are back! And this week, the Eagles will be playing in one of them! Even better, they’ll be playing the Redskins, which means that there’s about a 99% chance that they win the game!
And speaking of football, college bowl season is almost upon us! The seemingly endless slate of mostly meaningless postseason games begins on Saturday with the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
With that in mind, here’s a fun trivia contest. Which of the bowl games listed below is not real? Anyone who responds correctly gets a special prize. (Please answer in the comments. And no looking it up! The prize isn’t anywhere near special enough to cheat.)
A. Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
B. Boca Raton Bowl
C. Foster Farms Bowl
D. Keystone Tires Bowl
E. Quick Lane Bowl
7. Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages is a traditional Chanukkah song. According to Wikipedia, it is loosely based on the Jewish poem Ma’oz Tzur.
As far as I can tell, aside from sharing a name, it is in no way related to the Def Leppard song. But let’s take a listen to be sure!
8. Def Leppard – The official soundtrack of roller rinks in the 80’s
Speaking of Def Leppard, am I the only one who resist putting one arm behind my back and air drumming whenever I hear one of their songs? (Surely I can’t be the only one!)
When I think of Def Leppard, I also think of going to the roller rink in grade school. It seemed like you were guaranteed to hear at least three of their songs every trip.
In fact, I still can’t hear “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and not feel the urge to strap on some roller skates and take a few laps around the rink.
This got me wondering if roller rinks even still existed. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I was able to determine that the rink I used to go to is still in business!
Next time I visit my parents, I may have to take a trip out there.
That’s all for this year! Hope everyone’s Festival of Lights goes beautifully!