Sensitivity at Chanukah Get-Togethers

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    Dear family/ friend-

    In light of the Chanukah parties that are bound to happen this coming week many happy families will get together and catch up on all the family news and many friends will get together and catch up on old times. It’ll be so much fun for almost everyone. I say ALMOST everyone because there will be some family members and friends that feel so awkward and wish they werent there.

    A -The ones that are in shidduchim, have been in shidduchim, and wish they no longer were in shidduchim, wish they could be there with husband and kids. They wish it wasnt so lonely while everyone has someone to talk to but them. AND they wish you’d stop looking at them and saying, nebuch (but instead you would just start working on a non nebuch shidduch for them!!) Oh, and those comments that people make that make them wish the floor would open up and swallow them (“why do you have to be so picky??””C’mon, be more open minded, you’re getting older you gotta give in””Do you want to be single the rest of your life???”)

    B -The ones that dont have kids yet… and feel terrible when everyone goes on and on and on and on and on at these parties about their kids this and their kids that…. and the worst… the looks that they are given as ppl try to hide (unsuccessfully ) their gaze as they peek to see if there is a maternity situation finally going on (which there prob isnt so stop looking!)

    When the mothers or inlaws ask and pry into their lives that are so filled with pain and privacy.

    C -The ones that had financial loss or instability and may be putting on a nice big smile but feel terrible when family members ask how things are going and they say “great!” which really means we are in debt, business is failing, our electricity hopefully won’t get turned off etc etc etc but besides that we are really great!

    D- All other situations……………


    I’ve spoken to so many suffering ppl recently and they all feel the same. They hate the pressure, they hate the looks, they hate the awkward feelings and they hate the DUMB HURTFUL comments! And they do not want to get together with family which is pathetic b/c family is supposed to be the ones we turn to and look forward to reuniting with.

    Lets make these parties fun for everyone!

    I’d love to hear feedback of anyone that feels they can relate!


    thank you for this post! i fit into the A section… i always feel so left out when all my siblings sit and talk about making suppers and their kids schools and bedtimes etc and it does hurt… and i know they dont mean to do it but they dont think about it.. to them i’m just the little girl that i was 10 years ago but i’m not i wish i was able to be included in their conversations! i feel the same way when i get together with my friends… all talking about their husbands and supper and lakewood when i am here in brooklyn because i am not married…. i have one friend who sensed my uncomfortableness and changes the subject when she can but most times they dont chop and it gets back to that! i wish people would be more sensitive!!! thanks for bringing this point up!!!


    Thank you.

    This is a very important post. If only people would always be more sensitive!


    The best coping skill is a genuine smile,tasteful jokes, and looking like you have it all together.It simply doesn’t lend itself to pitying glances.Later,you can go home and cry if you need to.Only later!


    The only thing I can add to your post is not to keep this mindset only for Chanukah, but any social event. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Shul gatherings. The saying “a closed mouth gathers no feet” is a great motto.

    Thanks for taking the time to post.



    Is the idea here that it should be off-limits at functions for people to discuss their husbands and children — because some members don’t have a husband and/or children???


    Thank you..

    Hopefully the people who HAVE to see this reminder, DO.

    A freilichen Chanuka to all!


    Helpful- no. Not at all. You can’t deny your life because others don’t have it so good.

    But everything should be done with sensitivity. Change topics of discussions frequently, not to discuss ONLY kids, the house, etc.

    You’re allowed to discuss the sale at Macys or some school memories too!!



    No but be sensitive if there is someone around who does not have all the blessings that you do.


    Eclipse- easier said than done.

    And shkoyach- Thank you for your post. Its really appreciated. I’m going through hard times too and I can definitely relate. But unfortunately the people whose lives are perfect right now will never understand (how could they!) and as much as they try not to be hurtful they will still slip sometimes.


    Oooh boy, can I relate. Our extended family get-togethers have a tendency of spiraling downwards once the “how accomplished my kids are” contest starts. Once that ball’s in play, its not too long before the critiques start flowing. We then spend the next hour or so trying to change the subject, but soon its a bolt for the door.

    Sad, but pretty inevitable. Its not as bad when its limited to 2-3 families (host, plus 1-2 more) but in a huge crowd, its a lot harder to put out the fires


    Good points and one more point to make is to realize not to take things for granted. Be grateful for what you have and realize where it comes from. So as BP Totty mentioned those “contest” conversations are inappropriate and take some pride in the “other” children that you only get to see at these gatherings. Have some nachas from the other members of the family and make sure to “compliment freely” but sincerely. Don’t come just to show off your own offspring but be genuinely interested in others. That is the point in getting together.

    minyan gal

    Unfortunately many of these get togethers deteriorate into the unltimate game of oneupmanship. If I bought a house for a million dollars, then X bought one for two. If my child was accepted into a prestigious school, then yours was accepted to the best medical school in the world – on a full scholarship. For some reason, it seems to be human nature to try and outdo others. So many people tend to speak before they think, with little thought of the implications on others. I have no solution to this ever present problem other than trying to watch my own behaviour.


    Popa’s take:

    I’ve been through my share of this in my day. It seems to me that it has more to do with the person saying it than what is being said.

    I never minded when a good friend, or a relative I was close to, said something. I minded the busybody aunt, or the obnoxious friend.


    Popa- you got a point there. But sensitivity is always a must.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Note, a person who has a shem tov, even if he has no spouse, kids or money, has a priceless gift.

    Not having those other things is upsetting, but nothing compared to having one’s face plastered all over the NY Post in disgrace. Realize how much you have before you start to feel bad for yourself. Nobody can ever take away your shem tov, except you.


    Also if your giving a present to a single make it something age appropriate just cause im not married doesnt make me a child no toys, and if the best you can do is something you got in the drug store for $1.49 please dont bother


    Is $9.99 okay?



    its a gift

    think about what it means to receive a gift


    by the way, what a nice thread.


    80 is right, this thread has no negativity. Maybe you should close it.



    Some gifts say, look I thought of you… Some say look how little I thought of you or think of you.


    i know what it means to get a gift but i spend alot of time and money buying presents for my nieces and nephewws it shouldnt be too hard for their parents to reciprocate in a meaningful way, its not exactly the amount of mone the present costs but the amount of thought behind it


    yes gifts can say different things

    but as the recipient, you have one obligation

    to be grateful

    and certainly not to judge the giver

    unless your attitude that it is not a gift but owed to you



    Yes one should be appreciative but many times the gift is so embarrassing that its better not to give a gift than to give a gift and embarrass the person.

    Im obviously not talking about someone who cant afford a decent gift, but almost anyone can find something decent for under $30. Buy a nice book or whatever. But dont buy some silly thing thats not even age appropriate and is just pathetic and screams that the gift was bought last minute as an “afterthought” or while checking out at Rite Aid or Duane Reade!

    not I

    I like this post a lot. BH every one has their own package, whatever it is. I was once single, didn’t have an easy time having children etc. now BH with things ‘under control’ yes I do not mean to hurt someone who has less. but everyone knows that they like to talk about what is going on in their lives. It is not always easy to talka bout some nutrual topic. No one says something offensive on purpose..

    But Still they say no one does the right thing when ‘they meant good’. Some how that is only when they do something wrong!


    what do you care if the giver didnt give it any thought or you dont feel it is appropriate?

    i give up

    if you dont understand the concept of a gift and the menchlikeit of the receiver to be grateful and not judge the gift or the giver i will not be able to explain it to you.



    Im not saying not to appreciate. But if you buy a 16 year old a game that says for ages 5-10 on it do you really think the gift giver has done a “mitzvah?”

    You arent obligated to give a gift, but if you give one make sure you arent embarrassing the recipient. Thats all Im saying!

    Yes you should still try and be a Tzaddik and appreciate it and be grateful, but it hurts when an aunt or uncle does something like that…


    It is the thought that counts, BUT,

    It is the thought that counts.

    So, if it was clearly intended to be “yotzei”, you don’t need to be grateful.


    It is so easy these days to “gift” someone. If you can’t think of a gift buy a gift card, you can even get a gift card in a CVS drug store and that can be used for anything from perfume to electronics to everyday items. So if you can’t think of anything or are time limited, buy a card and put a gift card in it. If you put some extra thought into it you can probably buy gift cards at your local Judaic Store and then everyone can buy what they want.


    While I substantially agree with this post, I have to say that sensitivity is a two-way street. The one who are not yet married, have children, good jobs, etc. have to also be sensitive to the fact that walking on eggshells around you, makes these get-togethers very uncomfortable and awkward for the person who has to refrain from showing excitement that their baby has just reacjhed a major milestone (because someone there has no children),or that the wedding plans have come together (when someone else is not yet married). Both sides needs to act and speak with sensitivity to each other.

    My children had a very tough time conceiving, and had a miscarriage when they finally did, after several years. At the same time that this happened, my friend became a grandmother. Should I have stayed away from the bris or not allowed her to express her joy to me, ebcause I was sad about our situation? That is selfish, I am sorry to say. I trylu believe that when we show Hashem we are genuinely happy for someone else’s simcha, He looks to increase our own simcha.

    So don’t go overboard,everyone be sensitive in both ways to everyone, and try to not take these things personally. I kow it’s harder some times than others, but family get togethers will ALWAYS be what they are. If it is too painful, stay away. Honestly.


    Boy, am I sorry I made so MANY typos! (must have eaten too many latkes)

    A freilichen, lichtigen, Chanukah!!!!!


    Great post. Reminds me of a woman I know…she was making a wedding and all she could talk about were all the details and excitement, and of course I was happy for her. But it got to be too much after a while, since I am plotzing for my kids to find their beshairt. But I tried to be happy for her and kept on smiling. then the wedding came…the sheva brochos….and then she tells me how sad she is and misses her daughter. I felt like telling her that she should be glad she is married while mine are sitting and waiting, be quiet already. But I kept a stiff upper lip. When my kids get married I will remember how I felt and be more sensitive. (end of rant,sorry!)


    To be dan l’kaf z’chus when people unwittingly hurt us is a madreigah too.did anyone hear ever read the poem”when caring people stumble”?


    “But I kept a stiff upper lip. When my kids get married I will remember how I felt and be more sensitive. (end of rant,sorry!) “

    Emaofthree, in the zechus of being such a classy lady, may you be zocheh to marry all your kids off within the year!

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