Now, I have some very strong feelings about the use of the word “holiday” this time of year, because in general, I feel like “holiday” is just a PC way to say “Christmas,” and I really think that if you mean Christmas you should just say it. This blogger says it better than I did (here here here here and here). I’ve always loved Christmas, even though I didn’t celebrate it until Will and I started dating (hey Jews – want to settle that Christmas Envy? Date a goy!), and it always felt so hollow when people wished me Happy Holidays with a card that featured a jolly guy in a red suit (uh, hi. Santa doesn’t come to my house. Thanks for rubbing it in). It’s not that I wanted them to wish me a Merry Christmas, because I knew that wasn’t my holiday, but there just didn’t really seem like a good way for a little Jew girl to be involved with the mainstream commercialism of Christmastime (though The Nutcracker has been a big part of December for me for as long as I can remember). As much as I wanted the tree and the Santa and all that, I knew that just wasn’t our thing. And while I know the non-Jewish people try, the Happy Hanukah wishes that come weeks after the holiday has ended just reinforce that nobody knows what to do with a Jew at Christmastime. Especially since Chanukkah comes at a different time each year (dang Jewish calendar, so confusing). So I sang the carols and ate candy canes, because this time of year is all about the Joy of the Season for most people, and I like to be swept up in the festivity. But I don’t forget where I come from.
Though I happily celebrate both holidays these days, I do love Chanukkah (what’s not to love about the Festival of Light and the story of the Maccabees’ miraculous victory over Antiochus’ army?), and I’ve amassed a little collection of decorations…dreidels and a star of david made of Popsicle sticks and the like. This year, I got a few more and had a lovely time decorating the apartment. Five days after Thanksgiving. Oy.
Don’t know how Jews decorate for the holidays? There’s no standard, like a Christmas tree and stockings, but these are the types of decorations I grew up with, so this is how I do it. Enjoy! And don’t worry; you’ll see pictures of our Christmas decorations too.
|Please ignore (or note) the pumpkins. Yes, our Fall decor was|
still up when we hung the Chanukkah banner. Granted, it was
only 5 days after Thanksgiving.
|The first night of Chanukkah, using up the|
candles I bought in Israel three years ago.
|The last night of Chanukkah. Note that by|
this point, we had gotten rid of the pumpkins.
|hanging foil dreidel - there's also one made of|
|Our attempt to make something fried during Chanukkah.|
We were going for meatballs. They ended up becoming
mashed-and-fried-meat because we don't know how to fry meat.