Usually on Purim, my family dresses in costume and goes to our local synagogue to enjoy the evening megillah reading. Our scheduling as a family is pretty inflexible during the week, but we always try to prioritize this experience. This year, however, with Purim happening after daylight savings starts, and taking into consideration adult work hours and kid bedtimes, we can’t figure out how to make this happen. Help. We have our costumes all ready, but how can we celebrate Purim?
The Holiday That Might Not Be
Though Purim is often billed as a kids’ holiday, the late nights, loud noises and violent story make the reality of celebrating a lot more problematic than it first appears. Also, Purim’s particular timing on the calendar this year in relation to daylight saving time is throwing everyone for a loop, so while that’s minor consolation while you’re figuring out what to do with your kids, you’re in good company.
I’m writing this on March 18, which is unfortunate because a lot of synagogues and community centers actually had kid-friendly daytime celebrations the day before. I realize that does you no good now, but it’s worth remembering for next year that there are opportunities to celebrate that involve kids and costumes that take place on a weekend and may feel more realistic for your schedules.
For many children, the dressing up is more fun than seeing other people in costumes, so let them wear their costumes at home all week if they’re into it. You might feel like you’re missing out on the see and be seen aspect, and it’s fine to acknowledgement your own disappointment and then move on. Take pictures for relatives, post on social media and revel in the cuteness.
While the actual megillah isn’t super kid-appropriate, there are dozens of kids’ books about Purim that you can read together this week. Baking hamentaschen can be a great project, and folding circles of sandwich bread around filling makes it an incredibly easy kid project. You can also put together bags of treats to deliver to neighbors March 20 and 21 at a time that’s good for you — in costume. Making groggers or puppets or crowns are also great kid-friendly activities you can do at home that capture some of the spirit of the holiday without the hassle of going out after bedtime.
Finally, if none of this sound doable and you’re still overwhelmed and annoyed by the prospect of piecing this together, please know that taking a year off is a totally reasonable choice in a sea of balancing schedules and complicating factors. No one will judge you for it, your kids will be fine and, ultimately, you may even feel a sense of relief.
For a holiday that’s about turning things on its head, giving yourself a pass could be a blessedly unusual way to go.
Happy Purim, and be well,