I Love Decorating for Hanukkah!

11 Dec

When I was growing up there was no such thing as Hanukkah decorations, except for owning a family menorah and several dreidels for my siblings and me.

We did have a major family Hanukkah party each year at my paternal grandparents.   All my aunts and uncles and cousins would come. We had latkes and potato kugel. Of course we each got a new little driedel and some chocolate Hanukkah gelt.   And then we each got a small gift from each of our aunts and uncles and grandparents. It was much fun.

When we got older my uncle, who was involved with the Broadway theaters, gave us each tickets to a show.   Now that was fun! All the cousins would go together during winter break and see some new show. Thanks Uncle Bernie! His gifts instilled in me a love of musical theater that continues!

But there was no decorating. My Christian friends all got to put up their trees and decorate their homes in a fantastic manner. Over the years I decorated lots of trees with many Christian friends. Dorothy and her mom had me over to decorate when I was very young. That was my first decorating experience. It was so much fun.

A high school friend, whose mother was German, would get special decorations each year from Germany. Included in them were chocolate circles covered in white sprinkles. I think they were called kringles.   We loved hanging them on the tree. And the ones that broke got eaten!

But for us, there was nothing.   And, yes, I do know that the holiday is not about decorating.   It is about celebrating the Maccabee triumph over the Greek/Syrians and religious freedom.   However, I still wanted decorations!

So imagine my joy when I had children and suddenly there were Hanukkah decorations! Lots of decorations everywhere, even here in Kansas!!   I went a little berserk!!

We could get Hanukkah banners and paper goods; tablecloths, napkins and aprons. Even Hanukkah towels to put in the kitchen and bathrooms are available now.   I have Hanukkah dishes and glasses!

The most exciting is that I could get these items at regular stores like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond.   Hanukkah was mainstream. I went wild!!! Each year I decorate my house for Hanukkah.   And even though my children are adults, I still decorate! To be honest, I even buy new items each year!

hanukkah placemats

We even could get fabric with Hanukkah designs. Last year I had a friend who loves to quilt take all the Hanukkah fabric I had collected over the years and make placemats. They are lovely! This will be the first year that I can use them when I set the table with my wonderful dreidel dishes and glasses.

My favorite of all the newly available items are the numerous hanukkiahs and driedles. It used to be that families had just a simple brass ‘menorah’, with the eight branches and the higher spot for the Shamas. But now!!! Oh my goodness, there is a major change. First of all, we no longer call it a menorah. That is just for seven-branched candelabras. Now we use the Hebrew word, hanukkiah, which indicates the nine-branch candelabra used for the holiday.

I have hanukkiahs decorated with cats and favorite childhood characters. I have a hamsa hanukkiah and one that looks like the Kotel in Jerusalem.   I own about 12 hanukkiahs. And I love each and every one.   I actually keep my hanukkiahs out all year long. I have friends who own many more hanukkiahs!

IMG_4394

My driedel collection is another story.   I think I have over 100 driedels. Some are the little plastic ones that we got as children. But I also have lovely art driedels as well. Each year I take a number of them out and put them on display in the foyer of my home.   And each year I try to buy a new dreidel.

Draydel Store in Tel Aviv

This year was special. I spent the last week of November in Israel with my daughter. We walked through the new shopping area, Sarona, in Tel Aviv. There was a driedel store, called the Draydel House, Beyt HaSivivon.   Of course I had to purchase a dreidel there for my collection. It will be one of my Hanukkah gifts.

But I do not stop there, I even have a collection of stuffed Hanukkah bears. Yes I do. Every once in a while I see a stuffed bear decorated for Hanukkah and I have to buy it. I try to get two if possible, one for each of my children. But it is not always possible. I admit I do have Mickey Mouse holding a dreidel and other Disney Hanukkah decorations.

Hanukkah bears

Some might say that I have bought into the holiday hype. And I agree, I have. But it brings me so much joy to know that I can decorate my home and share my enthusiasm of my religion and my holiday with others.   I love decorating for Hanukkah. My enthusiasm will last as long as I do!

 

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