This post marks Day 10 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.
Happy Hanukkah! Any holiday that promotes fire, wine and fried food sounds like a good time to me.
Overall, I think Hanukkah is a far tastier holiday than, say, Passover (I happen to be a big fan of leavened bread), but there's one thing about Passover that I always miss at the other Jewish holidays: the chair for Elijah. At Passover, it's traditional to set a place at the table for the prophet. Because you never know... he might show up.
I like the empty chair. I feel like every feast needs an empty chair. It's a reminder that as cheery as we are, as full of bread and wine and laughter as we might be, there's others to think about. The table is never really complete.
So today, in my multi-denominational advent calendar, I'd like to suggest something a little out of season (though the holiday spirit of generosity is certainly seasonal).
Consider leaving some space at your lunch table this week. Just aside the amount of money you might spend on treating a friend (or a visiting prophet) and use it to buy lunch for the friend you've never met.
There's dozens of good causes out there, but here's three of my favorite suggestions on where to put your lunch dollars...
1. Chez Pim's annual Menu for Hope drive for the UN World Food Programme. Take this opportunity to donate $10 (or more!) Who knows... You might even win one of the prizes donated by food bloggers across the web (I'm offering my Chefbunny Natural Cotton Eco Tote — at left — stuffed with five signature spice blends. Just write-in code UE28). At the same time, you'll be assisting the UN in getting food into needy mouths.
2. A chicken in every pot. Heifer International purchases farm animals for needy families. They get a flock of chicks or a pair of bunnies, or a llama or sheep. These animals provide ongoing resources that help provide income sources to clothe the kids and feed the family. Check out their online gift catalog to learn more.
3. Open a can of worms. The Oxfam America gift section makes it easy to plant trees, buy school uniforms and even unite farmers with worms. Buy some needy someone a sheep without having to transport it yourself. Sheep are so squirmy.