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.