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Saving Space This Holiday

December 11, 2012

When I was eight, I entered a Menorah making contest. I spent hours in pencilsthe basement, supplies spread out on the opened Ping-Pong table, using pencils in place of candles with wild tufts of carpet remnants for the flames, and then decorated different faces on each. I didn’t win the contest, but I saved that menorah for years, eventually tossing it when I was in college, thinking it was time to let go of such childhood memories.

I hadn’t thought of that menorah until this past week when my sister sent me a picture of a menorah my niece Paige created out of clay, and then my friend Candice emailed paige's menorahme a picture of one she painted. These images happened to be in my head when I bumped into my neighbor Jennifer.

candance menorah

“Are you lighting the menorah tonight with your daughter?” I asked.
“No. I’m wary of candles with a two-year-old.”
“What about if you draw a menorah and then each night add a ‘flame’ by coloring it with a yellow crayon,” I said.
“I love it,” she said.

Now my juices were flowing.

That evening, on the first night of Hanukah, I realized I didn’t have a menorah. Of course the ritual is geared more to children, along with the presents, but as I ripped off the last paper towel, I had an idea. I took out a pair of scissors and cut the empty paper towel roll into eight little rings and put the remaining part, the tallest part, the shamash, in the center of a tray and lined the others around it. Then I took a piece of orange tissue paper, ripped off a little section and stuffed it into one of the towel rings. felice menorah FINALAnd voila, I had a menorah.

Sure the Maccabees may not have appreciated the tissue paper (as the whole point of Hanukah was the oil lasting for eight days), but I certainly did. Each night I may not be “lighting” candles, but I am certainly delighted by my own handy work. The best part is that when the holiday is over, I won’t have to pack it up in a box marked “Hanukah” or “Holidays” and store it someplace. I will just toss it, knowing next year I will make a different one, as well as the year after that. Not only is my new ritual fun, but it’s a space saver too.


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  1. Auntie M. permalink

    Great Creativity Felice. One Chanukah when Michael was @10 yrs old he informed that he needed to make a menorah for hebrew school that next day. It was now 8 o’clock at night. Because creativity must be a family trait, we made a cake in a 9 x 12 pan, sliced off 1/4 of it making a bar. Then we placed 8 marshmallos along top, using 2 for the shamas, stuck colored birthday candels into the marshmallos & There you have it. “The Edible Menorah!”

    Happy Chanukah!

  2. It’s not about how much you have. It’s about how creative you can be to find a way to do without.

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