Eight Crazy Posts! (#4)

Today’s post is more “show and tell” than an educational experience. Most families have special decorations that are a big part of their holiday experience, and although I have admitted several times to being a holiday decorating scrooge in general, I do have a few Hanukkah pieces that I totally adore.

You saw the first one a couple of weeks ago, when the thirteen-year-old drew an excellent replica of it on the blackboard at Religious School.

My grandmother made this ceramic menorah. The front of it says “lehadlik ner shel hanukkah”, which is the last line in one of the Hanukkah candle lighting blessings. The entire blessing:

Transliterated Hebrew:
Baruch Ata Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam Asher Kiddeshanu Be-mitsvotav Ve-tsivanu Lehadlik Ner Shel hanukkah

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

Also in the photo above and pictured below are two of my favorite dreidels. They are both made of glass and metal. I can’t remember where they came from but I love blue glass (I collected cobalt blue glass for a while) and so I love these dreidels!

This little menorah is only four inches tall. It uses the teeny tiny birthday candles you can get at any grocery store. I used to take this menorah to school when I was a kid, on the days when I shared about Hanukkah with my class…and then I sent it to school with *my* kids when they did it!

We have LOTS of menorahs, because I used to collect them (and then, well, *really*…just how many of those things does a family need??? so I stopped!). One of my favorites is this New York menorah. I bought this one for myself because New York City is one of my favorite places in the world. It was designed before 9/11 and includes the World Trade Center still standing tall and proud. I bought it that year (2001) and it’s definitely one of my treasures. I’m glad to report that it is still being produced and sold.

Remember when I wrote about the dreidels in Israel saying “A great miracle happened HERE” instead of “A great miracle happened THERE?” I happen to have an Israeli dreidel that a friend picked up for me on a trip there years ago. It’s blurry, but you can see that it’s in shades of blue (which I love, remember?) and it’s got the letter “pay” on it, instead of “shin”.

This next thing creeped me out at first when a friend gave it to me, but now I love it. It’s just a Hanukkah lady decoration. Sort of whimsical, I guess. Note the gift-wrapped earrings, the pom-pom b00bs, the bag that says “I love you a latke”, and the ever-so-stylish tutu and high heels combo. She’s just grown on me, which is bizarre because, as I mentioned, I was intensely disturbed when I first unwrapped her four years ago!

Of course no collection of favorite holiday decorations would be complete without something made by my children, right? This is a menorah that one of the boys made at camp a few years ago (yes, Jewish camp!). We have another one that is gold in color. The photo actually doesn’t do it justice. It’s very well-made and the marbles are much prettier in person. The candles fit into the little nuts that you can see if you look closely. (By the way, just in case anyone comes across this post and decides that this would be a GREAT idea to make at home, here’s a tip: You have to put pennies under the nuts because otherwise you risk the wood piece catching on fire when the candles burn down. The pennies block the candle wick from being in contact with the wood.)

Finally, one of my most prized possessions. I even did a video of it for you; THAT’S how important it is to me. (Okay, also because a photo just wouldn’t get the idea across!) It’s an old Aunt Jemima glass syrup bottle full of Christmas lights*. Watch the video and hear the story.

So, there you go! Thanks for taking my Tour of Decorations!

*As I say in the video, I think my (yes, Jewish) mom was a Christmas-celebrating-wannabe. She was always going on and on when we were little about getting a “Hanukkah bush” (no such thing, really) since we couldn’t have a Christmas tree. When we were young, Julesie and I each actually got Christmas stockings every year if you can believe that; this (and Aunt Jemima) was as far as my Conservative Jewishly-raised dad would let her go, I guess.



  • nonna

    ok, i gotta know. do you actually speak hebrew or are you just googling all of these translations?

    i love the christmas-celebrating-wannabe comment

  • Jennifer

    3 things…

    1st – all the Hannukah Lady is missing is a tiara!

    2nd – I love your post label “jew stuff”. very descriptive!!

    3rd – I love this little walk through Hannukah that you are giving us and I’m looking forward to the next 4 posts!

  • Melissa

    I love that you and your sons both used the same menorah to talk about Hanukkah…talk about tradition.

    And Aunt Jemima…I love that…one for it’s tradition and two because it lived in a Jewish household.

    You do have a lovely phone voice…:)

  • Melisa

    Nonna: First of all, I don't know WHY my fingers keep typing Noona when I am trying to type Nonna. EVERY SINGLE TIME, I type Noona first. WTF? Anyway, no. I don't speak Hebrew. I teach the letters (only *what they look like* and how they sound) to my 2nd graders on Sundays but do not speak it. I can only read very simple words. (my boys on the other hand, can read it very well due to their Bar Mitzvah training! They don't speak it, either) What I typed in the post is actually a transliteration, which is basically what you get when you are spelling out how words that are written in a language that doesn't use our alphabet (Hebrew, Mandarin, etc.) would sound. Does that make sense? I linked the word "Transliteration" in one of the other Eight Crazy Posts; I think it was the dreidel one. If you want, go back & check that out and maybe wiki explains it better. My mom is hilarious. She *is* a practicing Jew, but I think she just had a thing for Christmas all along! 🙂

    Jennifer: Hmm, maybe that's what bothered me about her! LOL Nice observation. 🙂

    Melissa: Thanks! hee hee

  • nonna

    i heard adam sandler’s Hanukkah song today on the way to my mom’s and i thought of you. of course that song is hilarious, so i was smiling while thinking of you 🙂

    you could just call me shannon – but i probably wouldn’t realise you were talking to me and it seems to have potential for typos too 🙂

  • Michelle

    Oh that is too funny (the Aunt Jemima). I was going to ask you if you had changed out the lights much. I’m shocked that they haven’t all burned out yet considering how frequently we lose lights here.

    And I’m impressed the pennies work. You don’t want to see what my “old” coffee table looks like after burning a candle IN its holder.

  • Huckdoll

    Thank YOU for sharing! You’ve got some really beautiful stuff there with a lot of awesome history attached 🙂

  • Mrs4444

    Um…yeah. The Aunt Jemima bottle…hm…ranks right up there with the high=heeled shoe we have, which was once covered with macaroni noodles and spray painted gold (by a Boy Scout brother) for my mom for Christmas. Some decorations are just classic.