Religion & Beliefs

DIY Hanukkah

One of the things that makes Hanukkah so hard is the pressure of making it special for eight whole nights.  It’s not easy to sustain excitement over a few candles for that long.  You know? On night one you light … Read More

By / December 20, 2006

One of the things that makes Hanukkah so hard is the pressure of making it special for eight whole nights.  It’s not easy to sustain excitement over a few candles for that long.  You know?

On night one you light the candles, say the prayers, exchange a meaningful gift, and fry some pancakes.  Nice!  It feels special.

On night two you spin the dreidel a few times, eat the leftover pancakes from night one, and then go out to a movie or something.  Pretty decent.

By night three, you’re sick of pancakes, your boyfriend/husband has band practice and so you lose track of time… end up running in the door way past sunset.  You hastily light the candles, pause to recognize that it doesn’t feel “special” anymore, order a burger and fries for delivery (hey, it’s cooked in oil, right?), and watch whatever reality show is on TV.

And by night four there’s so much damn wax crammed down in the menorah that you wonder, “Is it worth all the trouble?  I might burn the house down.”

So I thought I’d take a second to remind you that the best way to make a holiday feel special is by actually doing something.  It’s especially good to do something you don’t usually do with people you take for granted (i.e. your family).

This might mean roller disco with your roommates, and it might mean spending an afternoon volunteering with your sister at an animal shelter.  But I think one of the best ways to spend time with people, and start a new holiday tradition, is by making something concrete.  Because then that object you’ve constructed can be labeled “Hanukkah 2006” and for as long as you have it, you’ll remember the day you spent together.  (Hint:  Your mom will eat this shit up)

Yes, people, I’m talking about arts and crafts.  Which can be anything at all.   You could construct a doghouse.  You could get all beadazzled.  Learn to knit or become a decoupeaur.  I’ll suggest that this amazing magazine is just about the coolest place to find neat ideas for group projects, but there are plenty of websites you can check out for free (for kids and grownups too).

Go ahead, turn night four into the night that you (and all your nearest and dearest) get glitter and glue stuck in your hair.  Make it a tradition.   It will become a part of what Hanukkah means in the future, and give you something to do while the candles burn.