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8 Ways to Survive Nosy Family This Hanukkah

Photograph by Twenty20

"Mom, why don't we have Christmas?" Jewish kids complain yearningly to their parents.

There's only one good answer for not having a beautiful tree, sitting on Santa's lap or feeling apart of the commercial frenzy: "We have eight days instead of one!" Yup, that means eight presents instead of one.

But it also can mean eight holiday parties instead of one.

Which is usually awesome, because it means that Great Aunt Esther doesn't have to see your mother-in-law, which usually ends in someone throwing the potato latkes. You have your dad's family party, your mom's family party, the cousin's party, the friend's party and the office party too.

Now don't get me wrong: I usually love parties, weight gain aside. (Those fried potato pancakes and donuts to commemorate the menorah oil lasting eight days seem way more fattening than eggnog and fruitcake.)

Except for the four years that I was suffering infertility.

Plenty of parties meant plenty of trouble—for anyone suffering, whether it's infertility, grief, loss, unemployment, divorce or other apocalypses.

Here are eight ways to deal with the eight nights of Hanukah when you're struggling to get pregnant. (Or, frankly, any party when you're not pregnant and want to be.)

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First Night of Hanukkah

This is the most festive night, since everyone's excited to see each other, eat some donuts and even take a crack at the spinning dreidl game. With one candle, the ceremony is the shortest. People are still on their best behavior and somewhat excited to see each other. Go! This is the only night the latkes might be fresh.

Second Night of Hanukkah

You'll be a welcome guest on the second night of Hanukah, since you weren't there the first night. People will be genuinely happy to see you and won't even think to ask personal questions, like "When are you going to have a baby, already?"

Third Night of Hanukkah

Okay, here's where it gets tricky: stale applesauce, stale conversation. People want to know the details of your life. Tonight's the night to be breezy, like Audrey Hepburn. Or revert to Yiddish and say, "Mann trach, Gott Lauch." They'll probably have no idea you said "Man plans, God laughs." So they'll say "Gezundheit" and walk away. No one wants to catch a cold this early in winter.

Kids night. Sigh. A truly difficult time watching everyone else's tykes wreaking havoc and wishing for your own.

Fourth Night of Hanukkah

Speaking of colds, this is one of the best nights to say you're coming down with something. If you haven't already, start coughing in the middle of the second blessing (in the first it's too obvious.) "Are you okay?" your father/mother-in-law will say. You'll throw in a bit of Jewish guilt and respond, "No, don't worry about me. A little pneumonia, maybe." You probably will be able to leave early.

Fifth Night of Hanukkah

Kids night. Sigh. A truly difficult time watching everyone else's tykes wreaking havoc and wishing for your own. The only consolation? Talking about what bad parents everyone else is on the car ride home.

Sixth Night of Hanukkah

Friday night candle-lighting is prime real estate since it's the Sabbath too. The bigwigs get to host this one—for a sit-down, no less. Now's your chance to claim you're religious and say you don't drive on the Sabbath. If that doesn't work, drink a ton of Manischevitz. (Haha. Jews don't really drink this, it's only in the movies.) Head for the heavy stuff, like scotch. Everyone will know you're not preggos by the amount you're imbibing. This is the night to whip out the big presents. Everyone else will be giving out lame ones, like pencils and erasers.

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Seventh Night of Hanukkah

God, everyone's so sick of each other by this point, they're happy to just turn on the TV and not talk at all. On the other hand, someone somewhere will pick a fight with you-know-who (I don't), so whatever show is on, pretend you love it!

Eighth Night of Hanukkah

By golly, no one wants to celebrate this holiday anymore! If anyone is still partying by this point, I'm sure they'll all be talking about Christmas envy: how there's only one night of celebration and next year, maybe we Jews should try that…

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