It’s the time of year again where Hanukah gets to be The DUFF to Christmas’ svelte game. As a hybrid family of Jew-ish people, my children have seen first hand how lame Hanukah can be in comparison to rolling out the red carpet for Santa and his entourage. At least this is one of the years where there is a healthy separation between them: the worst is when we have to do a Christmakah mash-up, where stopping the Christmas-movie-eggnog-binge-fest to light some birthday candles that we don’t blow out seems more like an annoyance than the reverent religious ritual that it deserves to be. Highlighting the most obvious difference between the two Holidays (pun intended) are the decorations. Our front lawn is starting to look like the Griswalds more and more each year. We now have two trees: a real one for the living room and a fake “Victorian” one for the formal dining room where we serve Christmas Eve dinner. We love to transform our house for Christmas, but when it came to Hanukah decorations, I will be the first to admit that we fell down on the job.
Until now, my Hanukah decorations were limited to what I could find in the store, which were always things that looked more appropriate for a three year old’s birthday party. Except they said said “Happy Hanukah” instead of Happy Birthday.” I would reserve the smallest corner I could to set up the menorah display, complete with paper dreidel table topper and tacky banner. It was depressing. When the kids were toddlers, it at least made some sense. But they are tweens now, and as I thought about dusting off the box with its tired contents of hanukah decorations, I was determined to make this the year that I created some that don’t suck. I mean, Pinterest can help with that, right?
Right indeed: some people are way ahead of me. Hanukah decorations can be as elegant and creative as your imagination can envision. With the Israeli flag colors of blue and white (or silver) as your guide, and touches of gold gelt as your accent, you can turn your house into a thing of beauty with no limits. I didn’t want to break the bank, so I used a combination of things I already own (vases, pieces of antique silver, candle sticks, etc.) with holiday materials from craft stores and the Dollar Store.
I made my own banner out of paper, metallic paper and rafia, which is much more elegant than the store bought ones. I only had a day to put this together before we were due to host another family for dinner, but I wanted to show you what a small budget and one day can do to transform a Holiday.
My family lit up (pun intended again!) when they saw what I had done. Makeover successful, the big reveal showed that Hanukah will no longer be the ugly stepsister to Christmas in this house. She has whipped off her glasses, tossed around her hair, and cat walked down the runway.