We are not Jewish but both Daryl and I have Jewish heritage. My grandfather was Jewish. Daryl's father is Jewish and was raised in a very traditional household. 

We both had ancestors in concentration camps. We both were raised with those stories as part of our identity.  

That history means a lot to us both, so from the time they were born; our children have had books about the Jewish people and faith right along with our Christian books.

When my grandfather passed away and my in-laws moved, I realized this part of our children's heritage could slip away. That year I created one of our most treasured traditions.

We began to celebrate Chanukah-not in the traditional Jewish style, but in our own way.

We decorate, we bring out the books and dreidels, I make many of the traditional foods, and Daryl and I make a concerted effort during those eight days to teach our history.

We wanted to focus on the ideas and history of our heritage so we decided to leave the gift giving and receiving for Christmas.  

We do light a menorah, but since we are not Jewish, we do that our own way too.

We want to honor our heritage but not confuse our kids, so we are very clear with them this is just our own family ceremony. At sundown each night in Chanukah, we gather around the menorah. Daryl lights the shammus, the candle that is used to light the Chanukah candles.

We start with the youngest since the Jewish tradition is to honor the newest first. Tyler LOVES that he gets to go first every year. As the person is lighting their candle they say what they are thankful for, as they return the shammus to the holder or pass it to the next person they say what they hope for.

Each day another person is added. Since there are four of us on the final night we are each going twice. No Repeats!

The main rule we have is that these things cannot be materialistic.

There is no being thankful for your bike or hopeful that you will get a video game for Christmas. During those eight days these things are on our minds. What are we really thankful for? What do we really hope for? It naturally becomes part of conversations.

Some of my fondest memories are of my two little children talking to each other spontaneously about what they were grateful for, discussing which would be the best to choose during the ceremony. It has been a joy to watch the kids grow and their contributions deepen.  

It is traditions like this that I am focusing on this year as our financial belt is pulled tight enough to make our eyes pop.

Traditions that focus on the meanings for the holidays, not the commercialized hype, are what we need to keep our spirits high.

I would love to hear about your favorite traditions!

Kimberly Davis, Debt Management Plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc.Kimberly Davis

I have been married for 15 years and we have two kids. We have had a rough few years; between my Mom's having to come and live with us to my husband's lay off.  We are very eager to get our finances under control with the CareOne Debt Management Plan because our kids have BIG college plans. We have plans too and they include traveling with our trailer and being able to retire at some point, so this debt just has to go!  I live in California with my family and am  focused on making real changes so that we can get started on a fun debt-free future.You many know me in the Community Forums as Kimmer5000 and I am now a compensated blogger for CareOne!  

Check out my blogs under A Straight Talk on Debt!