I’ll be the first Jewish girl to admit, Hanukkah decorations are simply, well, cheesy…and there is never much variety. You’ll see the holiday aisles in the stores have a few shelves for Hanukkah within a sea of Christmas fare. The reality is a bit harsh but I’ve done my research…and chic, pretty decorations for Hanukkah just don’t exist. It was my goal to make the celebration for my son Luke’s first Hanukkah look sparkly and stylish and to do so…I had to be a bit creative. Here’s how you can spice up your Hanukkah gathering this year…
Traditional Hanukkah colors are blue, white, silver and gold. This year we used this color combo but built in turquoise as the main shade of blue throughout.
For the flowers we kept it simple to make the décor look chic and used mercury glass vases combined white, grey and black flowers. I think that the arrangements looked clean and fresh spread around the room without over doing it.
As always we found some really fab items to use for decorating my apartment from Etsy. For starters, I ordered a “glam” scalloped garland from Le Petite Fest which we hung on the wall by easily securing with some strong tape.
For the tables where the food was set out we added some simple decorations and here’s where I stole some help from Christmas…
Christmas ornaments are my favorite. I’ve always wanted a Christmas tree for so many reasons. I love the smell, I love the idea of decorating it, I love how it provides storage for gifts…it’s just a cool tradition all around. So to fill the void I always buy ornaments that are in Hanukkah colors and build them into my party. This year I was super excited to find out that West Elm partnered with Confetti System to make Christmas ornaments! Design duo Nicholas Anderson and Julie Ho make the most beautiful fringe garland and installations out of a material as simple as tissue paper and we love working with them! So it was a real treat to see their work in a home store that I adore. Lucky for me, they had a couple different ornaments in colors turquoise, silver and gold. Could this be more perfect? I think not.
I also found 3D star shaped ornaments in gold glitter at Crate and Barrel that I just LOVED! I strung all of these from the light fixture in my dining room above the table where we served up some lunch.
Also from Crate and Barrel I found some beautiful fabric to use as a tablecloth for the console table where I set up dessert. The Marimekko shop is full of all sorts of items (pillows, mugs, bags, napkins….etc., etc.,) and now they carry fabrics in bold and bright colors as well!
It’s always nice to set up a dessert bar in front of some type of backdrop. Whether it be made out of fabric, tiles, a mirror or artwork like in the case here where I have a turquoise painting that fit into our color scheme perfectly, you add a punch of color and pizzazz!
I also couldn’t help but throw in a Confetti system for West Elm tree. Ok ok so what? It’s soooo cool I just had to.
For each night of Hanukkah which lasts for 8 days we light a candle in commemoration of the miracle of light. We add an extra candle called the Shammas which acts as a “servent” to light the other candles. We had some fun with a DIY Menorah this year. We used 9 empty clear glass wine bottles and sprayed each with gold paint. Incredibly easy, looks so great and made a nice impact on the windowsill. I also love the menorah that I got for my wedding from Michael Aram which I set up behind the bar.
To Nibble On:
The star of the Hanukkah table is always ~ latkes. So this year I thought…let’s take it up a notch and to do so we served a latke bar.
Sue Park, personal chef who I met at my friend Beth son’s first birthday party and was wowed by her adorable and delish spread – came in to help Michelle and I with the cuisine. When we told her about the idea she came back to us and suggested we serve the latke bar as savory and sweet.
Savory: Mini Latkes-traditional flavor
Toppings: Chives, crème fraiche, smoked salmon, Apple Sauce
Sweet: Mini Sweet potato latkes sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon
Well, Sue put these out and they went like hot cakes – literally. The guests couldn’t get enough…they were delicious! Especially the sweet latkes – what a interesting twist on an old classic!
Along side we served up some easy bites since the guest list was made up of a bunch of kids and parents who were chasing them around and had little time to eat. With this type of crowd I find it best to serve items easy to grab and nibble…like cubes of cheese, pitted olives, grapes (cut in half for the young ones), crudités (we used all green veggies and an artichoke and parmesan dip from Whole Foods that was out of this world!), tomato & bocconcini and deviled eggs.
Alongside the items we set out to eat we had found some adorable canapés plates with the Star of David from West Elm. Perfect for Hanukkah…or any Jewish holiday for that matter making for a great purchase and value.
Our menu was appealing to all of the guests…adults and kids alike!
What’s Hanukkah or any party without dessert? The amazing Kristan from Kreated by K (who just had a baby girl! CONGRATS KRISTAN!!) was behind the star shaped vanilla cake pops that were dusted with gold glitter and sugar cookies that were shaped in numbers for 8 days of Hanukkah and a few Jewish Stars of David. As for the cupcakes I whipped up…I was lucky enough to work with Adriana from Too Cute Invites. She made us the most adorable cake toppers for Baby Luke’s first Hanukkah as well as toppers in the shapes of Jewish stars and dreidels!
The holidays are a time to celebrate so it’s fun to serve an alcoholic beverage. We thought it would be nice to have a winter punch. We combined pomegranate juice, sparkling water, sprite, lemon slices, mint and pomegranate seeds in a punch bowl. On the side we set out prosecco so guests could spike their drinks at their own leisure. And what’s an LMP event without some of our personalized water bottles? So we had Ali design up some labels for Baby Luke’s 1st Hanukkah which we set out for everyone to enjoy.
For the Kids:
To entertain the children I set out small turquoise paper bags with packs of crayons and Hanukkah stickers.
They each got to decorate a bag to fill with candy and a favor. We also set out a few dreidels that were clear and filled with gelt (chocolate coins traditionally given to children on Hanukkah) which my son quickly stuffed into his piggy bank…and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that they were edible not valuable.
Luke’s gift of gelt:
For the guests to take home we made it personal. Another great DIY …
We took 6” tins from specialty bottle and created labels to go on each. I filled with metallic gold gift shred and stuffed with a couple of bags of Hanukkah gelt so everyone went home with a nice amount of chocolate money.
The gift of Giving:
Every Hanukkah we exchange gifts and spoil our children with material items. This year, we thought it would be so nice to make a donation in lieu of bringing a gift. It’s not only a mitzvah which is a good deed but it’s a beautiful lesson to teach our children.
Last year Michelle and I went to a benefit concert for Baby Buggy and really fell in love with the charity. Jessica Seinfeld began this program where by they pick up or take drop offs for gently used or new baby items so they can help mothers in need who cannot afford to buy supplies for their babies.
The ironically tragic thing of this all…was I had asked our guests for these donations long before Hurricane Sandy hit. After the destruction I touched base with Baby Buggy and found out sadly, over 2,100 families in the Baby Buggy network are in areas of Staten Island and the Rockaways, which were hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. So to help, Baby Buggy requested diapers and winter coats which were in high demand for helping these families out. We collected about almost a dozen boxes of diapers and bags full of winter jackets for children. It was so touching to see everyone walk through the door so eager to help and made for a selfless and very loving holiday!
The holidays are a perfect time to swing for a really good photographer. Everyone is happy, the kids are smiling and joyous. A great way to capture the memories on film and use for gifts in the future or to update your albums and frames on the wall. We of course love our girl Raquel Bianca. She is the mastermind behind all of the shots you see on this post today and is not just a crazy talented photographer but an absolute pleasure to work with and have around.
Her rates are so reasonable and she turns her work around quickly. We highly recommend her and promise you will love her as much as we do!
The holiday season is all about connecting with your friends and family and having fun. Be safe and from all of us here at LMP – Happy Holidays! We wish you a good one with all our love.