December 8th was the first night of Chanukah, the Festival of the Lights. For those who don’t know, it involves a Menorah, a candle holder for 8 candles and a head candle holder. Each night for 8 nights we light the candles. It is usually the children who light the candles, even at a young age and they are pretty excited about it. They each have their own Menorah. The first night we light the head candle called the “Shamas” and with the Shamas we light the other candle. The second night we do the same thing but light 2 candles and so on until the 8th night when all the candles are lit.
In some families the tradition is to give the children “Chanukah Gelt” (money). In our family we always got little gifts for our kids, one for each night. Nothing special. New markers, story books, activity books, plastersine, etc, and wrap each one up and that was that. We do the same for our grandchildren.
So I got them their gifts. The boy is 6. He is into magic but I only give him magic on occasion. I had 7 gifts for him but not the 8th. I thought of Poker Chip Polka, a magic trick involving colour changing poker chips, and knew it would be perfect for him. It comes in a small box. All his presents for the 8 days are wrapped in blue tissue paper, a few sheets so you can’t know what the present is, and white ribbon and he has his shopping bag and his little sister has hers. All the packages were pretty big compared to that box and when his mother told him he could pick one present from the bag I wanted to tell him to pick the little one so I could help him with it. And as he reached it I said, “Take….” But I was too late and he was too fast. He already picked the one he wanted… and it was the little one. I told him I wanted him to take that one. He said, “Because it’s magic, right?” I said yes” and shook my head in disbelief. He said, “I knew it.”
So I performed it for everyone there, including the other grandparents. One of them, who came up to shop previously to buy a few things for a presentation he had to make, said he was coming up to get one of those. and “How come you didn’t show me that last time?”
“When I saw his hand come out of that shopping bag with the little package, I thought, “That’s real mentalism!”