The crunch is on. There are only two days to Hanukkah, and until yesterday I had not put up Any Hanukkah decorations. There was the mad dash to get everything up. Of course, I couldn’t find some things I knew I had.
But in the end I found everything and I have my Hanukkah Decorations Finally Up. I combine purely Hanukkahish decorations with things that are probably Christmassy, but which I have repurposed. No evergreens, though. I have them clustered in the living room, dining room and family room. Just take a look.
My first Hanukkah Mosaic starts out showing the highboy with my Hanukkah Menorah, some glittery things and the flames from a tired looking Menorah door ornament that we retired last year inside wine glasses with strings of translucent beads. Next comes my Snow Queen (actually a tree topper that I repurposed for Hanukkah.) along with a star shaped candle and more beads in a glass. I have winter stuffed snowmen and some Hanukkah rubber duckies in the kitchen. And a mantle with another Winter Queen, a Menorah, more glass beads in glasses, a dreidel and some stars. Above those are two pictures I bought in Alaska with very winter scenes. Very appropriate, don’t you think?
The second Hanukkah Mosaic begins with the Hanukkah table runner that I quilted last year with a plate with blue and white candles and beads in a glass. I also put the gifts on this table. The electric Hanukkah Menorah I have in my window. My Flying Winter Queen. (Yes, I really like my Winter Queens. Very Wintery. Love them.). And my table with a Menorah shaped bowl and some beads in a glass. I like using the beads in glasses. It gives sparkle without a lot of work.
Outdoors, two different kinds of Beauty Berry are obliging us with holiday color. Sun was shining gloriously through some Miscanthus grasses, now turned yellow, and the remains of our Sweet Gum’s leaves. And birdies have found the feeder we moved in the front yard and love it.
December is an interesting time. I celebrate Hanukkah. My housemate celebrates Christmas. So How do we decorate, especially in the years where they overlap? Hanukkah goes by the Hebrew calendar, which is lunar with 13 months every three or four years (Hebrew leap years). This means that the date in the English calendar changes from year to year.
Hanukkah celebrates the Miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple after years of being used for non-Jewish worship. Only one cask of oil was found (enough for one day) and it would take a week to make new oil. According to tradition, the one cask burned for eight days. This is the Hanukkah Miracle that is celebrated. This is why we light candles or olive oil for eight days.
Since Hanukkah usually starts first, I do decorating for Hanukkah about a week ahead. Then we bring out the Christmas decorations about a week before Christmas. Some decorations work for both holidays, although we keep the decorations fairly separate, so that each holiday will get proper respect.
After years of going crazy finding the respective decorations, we finally started packing the Hanukkah only decorations in one box, Christmas only decorations in another box and the ones that work for both holidays in a third box. This works fairly well as long as we put them back in the right boxes.
After my successes in making the Hanukkah table runner last year and the Rosh HaShanah table runner earlier this fall, I am making a Christmas table runner for my house mate. We decided on a simple tree pattern. I’m nearly done with the quilting. I sure hope I finish it.
No Hanukkah is complete without Latkes. It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil in honor of the Hanukkah Miracle. Here is a recipe I adapted from Epicurious, since I couldn’t find mine.
1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
(My own recipe also has Matzoh meal, but I can’t recall the amount)
Preheat oven to 250°F.
. Peel potatoes and grate coarsely.
. Soak grated potato in water 2 minutes.
. Place potatoes and onions on kitchen towel and squeeze water out.
. Put in bowl and mix in egg.
. Add salt.
. Heat 1/4 C oil in skillet.
. Form latkes by dropping 2 Tbsp into skillet.
. Reduce heat to medium and let one side of latkes brown (about 5 minutes)
. Turn over and let brown (another 5 minutes)
. Drain on paper towels.
. Add oil to skillet as needed as you work to finish the Latkes
. Spread latkes on wire racks set on cookie sheets and keep warm in oven.
. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with sour cream and apple sauce. Enjoy!
Here is a link to a fabulous Crispy Potato Pancake recipe by Athena McElrath at Minerva’s Garden. I have Got to try her recipe too. Would fit in wonderfully for Hanukkah.