Holidays Our Way – Hanukkah at Home

It’s kind of funny… I’ve been so engrossed in looking at everyone’s Christmas pictures this year (thanks, Instagram!) that Hanukkah sort of crept up on me. December is eternally going to be my craziest month, not just because of the holidays, but because we celebrate my husband’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday and my dad’s birthday all in December. Add that, on top of LOTS of holiday celebrations, this year being 30 weeks pregnant AND running cuteheads, and you’ve got a recipe for very little sleep and packed calendars.

In any case, Hanukkah has arrived, and we’re already in day 5! It’s such a fun time of year, and even more so now that my daughter is 2 and knows what’s going on. She even asks to sing the blessings every night, which is so special for us. I love that we’re passing on our traditions to her already, she’s going to grow up loving the holidays as much as we do.

Decorating the House for Hanukkah

Holidays Our Way: How We Celebrate Chanukah

Each of us has a menorah. The cute one with all the people — which SOMEONE has already dropped on the ground this Hanukkah and broken it in half, I kid you not — is my daughter’s. The one on the right is my menorah from my childhood, and the beautiful Michael Aram menorah was a wedding gift to us. We don’t light every menorah every night, because to be honest, that’s a LOT of candles. Each night, we choose a menorah and light the middle candle, known as the shamash, and use that to light the other candles. Each candle symbolizes a night that the Temple lantern burned, when the oil should have only lasted one night.

Holidays Our Way: How We Celebrate Hanukkah

You’ve heard of Elf on a Shelf, right? Behold… Mensch on a Bench (in this case, Mensch on a Geode). In the same vein as Elf on a Shelf, you’re supposed to move this little guy around your house each day. It actually launched on Shark Tank a few years ago, originally a product of “elf envy.”He seems pretty cozy on that rock, so we’ve let him stay there.

Hanukkah Food

Holidays Our Way: How We Celebrate Hanukkah at Home

No Hanukkah is complete without potato latkes. This is the traditional Hanukkah food, and consists of potato, flour, egg and spices, usually pan-fried or deep-fried. I’m pretty obsessed with Smitten Kitchen recipes, and they have a great potato latke recipe, if you’re in the mood for your house to smell AMAZING. The traditional dipping sauces are apple sauce (YUM) and sour cream (EW), and I admit that I completely forgot the apple sauce at the store. So we may or may not have been eating GoGoSqueeze applesauce from a pouch, even the adults.

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THANK YOU WHOLE FOODS, for realizing there are holidays in December other than Christmas. They had a wide variety of Hanukkah cookies, and I pretty much bought ’em all. Cute, eh?

Hanukkah Traditions

Holidays Our Way: Hanukkah at Home

This year, Naomi’s grandmother got her the CUTEST Hanukkah PJs from The Little Crane, a monogram shop based out of Houston. I will most definitely be getting her Hanukkah PJs from now until she tells me they’re stupid, and I’m stupid and everything is stupid (that’s what teenagers do, right?). She loves her menorah, and this is about when she threw it on the ground and broke it in half. Thank goodness for superglue, amirite?

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We always go to our cousins’ house for the first night of Hanukkah. They throw a fun family party, with presents and dreidel (that’s the game with the little top where you win candy money [I’m laughing right now because spell check thinks “dreidel” should be “Deidre”]). Naomi got lots of presents this year, though not from us… we may or may not have re-purposed her birthday presents into Hanukkah presents. She’s two, so we can still do things like that.

I’ve loved learning about everyone else’s traditions this year. Keep those Christmas Tree pics coming!

Holidays Our Way: Hanukkah at Home

17 thoughts on “Holidays Our Way – Hanukkah at Home

  1. My grandpa celebrated HanukkaH, but The rest of our family has always celebrated Christmas! I’ve been wanting to try Latkes for SO long. Yum!

  2. This is great! I come from a Jewish background, but never celebrated Hanukkah. Thank you for sharing the traditions in your beautiful home :)

  3. I LOVE this. I’m not jewish, but in the past we’ve done Hanukkah celebrations with menorahs and latkes and had a good time with it. I’m not christian either, but I still do christmas and listen to christmas carols-I just love culture and learning about it and experiencing it.

    I REALLY want that fancy tree branch menorah you got for your wedding-is that weird?

    1. I don’t think it’s weird at all. It’s SO pretty! Everything Michael Aram is though :) A non-Christian friend told me yesterday that she celebrates Christmas “just because,” which I found so interesting. I didn’t realize how cultural and non-religious it can be. I guess Hanukkah could be done the same way! The customs and traditions really are so much fun.

  4. This was a great post! I am totally in love with your tree menorah, that is gorgeous. Thank you for all the details on how you celebrate the holiday season!

  5. Love seeing everyone’s traditions! Your menorahs are beautiful and what a fun way to include your entire family! I’m not Jewish but my brother-in-law is. I thought it would be fun to get my little niece a Mensch on a Bench last year (she was 2), but she wasn’t all that into it…maybe this year! Maybe it will grow into her tradition I can be part of! Happy Hanukkah!

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The Cuteness: sharing daily inspiration, kids fashion, work/life balance + small business how to's from mom & business owner Esther Freedman