Last night, on the first night of Chanukah, Kemba got an orange-and-blue Chuckit Ultra Ball. This is by far his favorite kind of toy. He used to be content with regular tennis balls — he’d fetch them 24/7 — until he decided tennis balls grow on trees and were no longer a big deal. These days only the Chuckit balls hold his focus.
So how did he react to his present? He was excited . . . but not exactly delirious.
My dog’s reception of his Chanukah gift reminded me of my sons. When they were little they were transfixed by lighting the candles, then placing them on the Menorah. And the one-gift-every-night for eight days seemed like a pretty sweet deal. But over time, the Chanukah celebration felt a little . . . low-key. Especially when you put it up against the all-out frenzy surrounding Christmas.
I totally get it. My memory is that as a little kid, I was pretty appreciative of my Chanukah presents. Until the
year I went across the street to my friend Johnny Pinkham’s house on Christmas morning. O.M.G.! The tree! The lights! The decorations! And most dazzling of all, the gifts! — all wrapped and ribboned and piled so high they could barely be squeezed under the low-hanging branches!
As my own boys got older, they convinced us to do a little celebrating for Christmas, in addition to Chanukah. Then a little more celebrating. They even talked us into a Christmas tree. (Not a real one. It was actually Robby’s Little Tikes basketball hoop, over which Matt would drape a green fleece, adorned with random . . . things. See photo, left.) It eventually got to the point where one winter, when Robby was in middle school, he asked if we could just hold onto all his Chanukah presents and
put them under the Christmas tree a few weeks later.
So I guess it’s no surprise that Kemba reacts pretty much the same way. Sure, he’ll stare up at the Chanukah candles, sitting more or less at attention. As in no big deal. But on Christmas morning? With presents being tossed around the room and wrapping paper flying and all that cheering and clapping? He goes batshit crazy! As did Ricky, before him. (See last year’s “A Christmas Story” for Ricky’s most impressive Christmas performance ever.)
So the question now is: What, exactly, will Kemba find under the tree come Christmas time? Hmm. So far, I’ve only given him one of the Chuckit Ultra Balls. And it did come in a four-pack . . . Unless someone wants to give me a better idea.