Thursday, December 23, 2010


It can be spelled in many ways, but I prefer the one that uses as many letters as possible.  While this really isn’t a major Jewish holiday, it gives Jewish American kids something to celebrate this time of year.  Though I envied my friends with their Christmas trees and lights, I have fond memories of lighting the menorah and making latkes while listening to Chanukah at Home (only the best CD ever for this time of year…probably not as great without the nostalgia though, fair warning).  This post is rather late, almost a month after the holiday has passed, but I’d still like to share my holiday with you.

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
tissue paper.

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.

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