Raising a child supposedly costs you a quarter of a million dollars, but it can honestly be more daunting to face the idea of spending $80 on bottle nipples in a single month. Expense Report gives us a look into the spending, scrimping, and wishing that defines parenthood, from what moms spend on birthdays, to childcare, to sleep, to self-care (we wish!), and beyond.
This year, Americans are expected to spend $700 on the holidays, totaling $465 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. But what are families spending on Hanukkah? One California family shares their tally.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, many are preparing for the countless joyful memories to come. One of these popular celebrations is Hanukkah — or Chanukah, depending on how you choose to spell it — which begins Dec. 22 and ends Dec. 30. The traditional Jewish holiday signifies the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Lasting eight days and eight nights, the holiday is also referred to as the Festival of Lights.
Celebrating Hanukkah each year can be costly, however. But for Nicole — a mother in Los Angeles, California — and her family, they’ve found a way to make the holiday affordable without having to let go of any of the aspects that make it so special and important.
Family: A Mom and Dad
Annual income: $150,000–$160,000
Children: 1 (2 years old)
My husband and I have been together for 12 years and we have a 2-year-old daughter. I am 36, work in fashion marketing for a luxury plus-size brand. My husband is 41 and works with contracts and freelancers as a production artist.
It's very important for me to pass on traditions to my daughter. My family fled their home countries because of religious persecution. I honor my ancestors by reciting these prayers that my great-grandparents said quietly, and teaching her how to cook dishes that mean so much more than the ingredients in them. In the Jewish faith, the mothers pass the Jewish heritage on through their children, so my daughter will hopefully be a mother, and her children will be Jewish too. It's important that she knows where she came from, and what women came before her.
I love the celebrations that come along with Hanukkah. So many Jewish holidays are filled with sadness — Hanukkah is a celebration (still some sadness too!). I love how beautiful menorahs look shining through a window. I love celebrating and giving gifts to my daughter. I love singing the songs. Maybe because I grew up celebrating Christmas too, the season is just intensified for me. Before we had my daughter, I would get a little sad during the holidays because it's easy to be consumed by the consumerism behind them, but now I try to see the holidays as a time to really celebrate our families and the love and tradition that comes along with both sides. Both faiths.
I usually buy candles for a couple of my favorite menorahs, and I love fun, colorful ones now that I have a kiddo. Last year I found the best rainbow candles on Etsy, and they looked amazing in my Nana's brass menorah.
Etsy: Rainbow candles, $23
Candles subtotal: $23
Before I became a mother, I rarely bought anything for decor for Hanukkah, but now I have a toddler who loves to celebrate holidays, and I kind of go wild. I tend to buy fun mobiles and banners, maybe even a few tchotchkes. Also since we celebrate Christmas (non-religiously), we love to add Hanukkah-related ornaments to our tree.
Amazon: Zion Judaica Happy Hanukkah Holographic Letter Banner on Ribbon 75", $7; Rite Lite LTD Chanukah Prismatic Garland, $9; 10 Hanukkah LED Battery Powered 3" Mini Round Lantern String Lights, $19; Kurt Adler Gingerbread LED Hanukkah House Ornament, $15
Decor subtotal: $50
I love to make sure my daughter has a cute Hanukkah outfit. We do not go overboard, and I refuse to buy something she will only wear once, so it tends to be something like a blue dress or something sort of festive.
Gap Kids: Toddler Empire Floral Dress, $40
Clothing subtotal: $40
We only have one child and we still have Santa coming to the house, so we try very hard to budget for both holidays. For Hanukkah, we buy eight gifts (one for each night), and those gifts tend to be a mix of practical, like PJs and new bath bubbles, to some fun, small gifts like books and crayons. When we have our Hanukkah party, we buy a few larger gifts, and maybe some clothing, too. We also have a young nephew, so we love to make sure he gets something fun to enjoy when we're opening presents. We typically do not buy anything for the adults, but we may buy my mom something because she is our nanny and we love to make sure we remember her.
Amazon: 3-in-1 Baby Shampoo Bubble Bath and Body Wash - 16 oz. (2 pack) - By Lil Leona, $25; Biscuit's Hanukkah, $5; The Shortest Day, $16; George's New Dinosaur, $4; Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons, $23; Daniel Tiger's JUMBO Coloring Book, $6; Littlest Pet Shop Lucky Pets Fortune Crew Surprise Pet Toy, $15
Anthropologie: Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket, $98
Pottery Barn Kids: Nursery Faux-Fur Plush Seal Rocker, $113
Gifts subtotal: $342
We usually do a Hanukkah potluck with my mom, and we share in the cooking. My brothers end up bringing drinks or extra snacks. Our party is super casual too, so Hanukkah paper plates it is! We make latkes, kugel, matzo ball soup, and knish. My mom makes her spinach squares, and we usually buy roasted chicken and fried chicken (Jews eat lots of fried food during the holiday!). We often buy desserts and appetizers too, but like I said, it's always very casual.
Supermarket: sundry food
Food subtotal: $150
Grand total: $605
Not bad for eight days and eight nights!
*Prices may vary.