Have you ever thought you could exchange poems instead of gifts? That’s what we do on Hannukah, we exchange poems instead of gifts.
I have a love hate relationship with poetry? I think reading poetry is good for your brain, but I struggle to make time to actually do it.
When I have time to read for fun, I like fast-paced novels, compelling memoirs, and meaningful nonfiction. I have some favorite poets, like Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, and Robert Frost, but I don’t spend a lot of time reading them. Except in the winter.
Since we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, on Hanukkah we don’t give gifts. Instead we eat latkes with homemade applesauce and yogurt and we exchange poems instead of gifts. We gather up all our poetry books, bring them to the table, and take turns reading our favorite poems out loud.
Exchange poems instead of gifts
My kids have memorized many poems over the years.
This poem has generated furrowed brows and interesting conversations in our house.
See what your children make of it:
On a dark, dark day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman, who heard the noise, ran and shot the two dead boys.
If you don’t believe my story’s true, ask the blind man. He saw it too.
Our family’s favorite books of poems include:
Talking Like the Rain: the illustrations by Jane Dyer are as wonderful and beautiful as the poems themselves.
Everything On It by Shel Silverstein: these poems are so much fun, and lend themselves to being read and recited over and over again.
(Note to parents with children of all ages: a beautiful, hardcover poetry book makes an excellent graduation gift.)
First published: May 9, 2011
Updated: August 18, 2020