There is a quick and easy way out from under that candy mountain.
There’s candy and junk everywhere I look. I just counted 17 soda cans on my kitchen counter. Something tells me that this isn’t what Purim is all about. But hey, it’s one day, and tomorrow we will all go back to our healthy eating habits.
This is what every mom thinks every Purim. Let them eat it all for one day, get sticky first, then hyper, then inevitably cranky. Let them have fun, let me say nothing for one day. Then we shall scrub them all well, brush those poor teeth, and start a new day.
The problem is, there’s nosh everywhere. What to do? How exactly are you going to tell Yossy, who is by now taller than you, that no sir, that huge bag of assorted Tinglers he collected from all his friends gotta go, or else he will spend summer vacation at the dentist’s office? After all, he gave shalach manos to his friends, and they gave him shalach manos back, why shouldn’t he eat it?
No, we cannot change the whole Purim Nosh Disaster (although I do know we could, and yes we will, but it’s not an easy and quick change). What we can do is figure out a way to get all of the junk out of our homes, fast. Here’s what I’ve been doing for the past 5 years and it works so well that my children are actually looking forward to it. Yes, they are looking forward to giving me all their nosh.
This is how I do it:
Tell your children that this year, instead of nosh, they have the opportunity to make some real money. You will be buying their nosh off them, by weight. At first, they will refuse. Then you explain that this is how it works: every kid will collect all his nosh in one box. Before selling the nosh, every child gets to look through his box and keep anything he doesn’t want to sell to me. (I find that when I give the liberty to keep anything they don’t want to sell, no questions asked, they end up just keeping one or two special treats and that’s all. I never had any kid want to keep more than that. This gives the child the power and knowledge that it is entirely his decision.)
Next, we pull out our kitchen scale, top it with a large bowl and drop all the candy inside. Cans of soda and juice boxes get put aside, not weighed.
I will pay “X” amount per pound (I believe last year I paid $10 per pound of nosh) and 0.25 cents per soda/juice box. Obviously, you set the price and make it work for your family. I do find that it needs to make sense for the child, and he needs to feel like he’s getting a “good deal.”
After all, we are teaching them here that they are exchanging nosh with something everlasting (like a toy) and bear in mind, dental bills are way way more expensive and painful. I like to make the “weighing in” into a real dramatic saga, with drum rolls and lots of humor. It’s the type of stuff memories are made of. We draw a chart and write down how much everyone is getting “paid.”
After that, I fill an envelope for each child with the cash they earned and we immediately head out to a toy store or bookstore to spend their money.
My children have developed such fond memories of this ritual, they plan what they will buy with their Purim money before they decide on a Purim costume. They know to enjoy the Purim day to its fullest (read: eat today because you might want to sell it tomorrow) and actually look forwards to giving me all their nosh, no arguments at all.
And as for me, I am happy to pay a small price for their health.
What about the candy, you ask? Well, that my friends, is my secret. It magically disappears!