Invention of tradition...
Hanukkah always reminds me of Hosbawm and Ranger's (1983) article on the invention of tradition. This article talks about how we can invent a tradition and preserve it.
Hanukkah is one of the holidays that, in my view, invented many traditions,... and I also... invented a tradition for my home.
When I was a child we lit candles and received Hanukkah money coins from our grandparents... I really remember how we stood by the candles and received the money… we were so happy.
Later I moved to Canada, and then Belgium. I discovered another world. Nice grandfathers in red were walking around handing out gifts to the children. I actually liked it. The houses are illuminated with lights and decorated. And I find it so beautiful.
I thought why not actually?
There is no halachic problem with decorating the house and replacing the Hanukkah money with gifts...
And that's how I invented for us the tradition of "Saba Hanukkah" who also comes to us and gives the children gifts for the holiday! One day I was drinking coffee (hot chocolate) with my daughter (she was 6 at the time) the children in the cafe were given postcards to write a request from Santa. My daughter looked at me and in a second I said "Write to Grandpa Hanukkah, he receives the postcards from us" and she wrote and I took her possible disappointment that she has no one to write to, in a second.
So yes, be creative and invent!
What traditions did you invent?
May we have a Happy holiday full of light!