This post has been updated for 2019.
I’m not Jewish. Well, I wasn’t raised that way anyway. And I never formally converted. My 8-year-old’s Hebrew is pretty much perfection — blessing bread, candles, and just about anything else that needs it. She tells people we’re Jew“ish.” She winks. And they typically move on, with a smile. We’ll figure ourselves out in time. For now, we honor Shabbat. We celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Purim, build a tent on Sukkot, and we repent like it’s nobody’s business (which it’s not) on Yom Kippur. And we love us some Hanukkah. But you know…just in case…I also asked a few of my favorite Jewish girlfriends to weigh in on Hanukkah too!
Heavily, they had this to say, “we don’t do much, but the kids love every single night of it.” What we all came to realize is this: there’s much to be said for a family lighting candles (tons of them) and sharing a meal, that a house totally lit in blue can be super-fun, Hanukkah food is delicious, and Dreidel never gets old. And one more thing: that Moms should totally make aspirational wishes. You just never know, right? Lessons from lives lived well. Happy Hanukkah.
All The Love & Light: Hanukkah Decor
Light More Menorahs
My friend ALiebs says the more menorahs the better. She pulls out all the menorahs the kids have made each year in school and lights them all every night! It’s true, they are so beautiful and so special, and then you light a few of them b/c the kids all want to light a candle every night, and next thing you know, the room is LIT in the most beautiful show of beauty and art, and love, light and tradition!
My kids each have their own menorah, they’ve all come from the gift shop at the National Museum of American Jewish History. It’s one of my favorite places to be lost in deep thought and simultaneously full of hope; both the museum and its shop. And then we have a few for special friends who also love to share this holiday (Pax, I’m all eyes on you, love.) Even on just the first night, there’s something wonderfully amazing about the beauty of the menorahs themselves, and the passing of the shamash to get them all lit, and then the gorgeous light that a collection of menorahs on a mantle, or table set of. It’s genuinely magical!And special menorahs also make a great first night gift! Here are some of our favorite menorahs:
More Lights, More Lit
Layer lights, candles, garland, and all fun things that sparkle and shine!
My friend M LIT her house in blue last year. Twinkle lights, fairy lights, blue pompoms, candles, you name it. She sent us a photo the other day when a non-believer questioned if it really didn’t look like the other holiday that starts with a C. It was GORGEOUS!!! And her kids had the biggest smiles, lit in BLUE! Start with some fun silver, gold, black, blue and white, twinkle lights, and fun, gorgeous garland. Twinkle lights in spirals all over the walls and tables, or piled in a big glass vase are extraordinary! Add plenty of extra candles. Then layer with all the other other sparkly fun! Whether it’s on your mantle, on an entry or console table, maybe on a wall behind a table — or take M’s approach, and throw sparkly things and lights everywhere you can!
Many of these are printable downloads, which is super cost-efficient and fun! Take something you already have framed, and switch it out with some holiday-themed prints, or lean a big, framed one against the wall on a console table. Or maybe you have extra frames hanging around the house you can turn into great holiday decorations like these!
Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!!!
Leave the gelt piled high in a gorgeous glass or silver bowl, and pile the dreidels in one too. They are a ton of fun for the kids to spin every night, but they also make for great display items all day long!
Set The Hanukkah Table
Layer it in the deepest of blue cloths and runners, add plenty of gold, silver and blue plates and decoration! And bag the gifts for each night or as favors on a well-set table!
Eat Delicious Food!
There is nothing more fun than making Latkes with kids, nothing better than a meal that cooks itself in a dutch oven over time, nothing better than fresh homemade bread, and more potatoes (OK, fine, that might be the Irish coming out in me — great cultures think alike, and make more than just ‘do’ with what they have, right?) Try some of our favorites like these, we promise, they are easy recipes to follow!
This post has been updated for 2019…LIGHT IT UP!!!! A few things are gone baby gone, but have been replaced with other wish-worthy items, and all others refreshed for inventory!
Happy well-lit Hanukkah, and lots of love to you and yours!