I love how having kids inspires you to put that extra effort into things you ignored in the pre-munchkin days. Hanukkah is a great example of this. Before our son was born my husband I lit our menorahs every night and enjoyed Hanukkah food, but that was pretty much it. Now? We have Hanukkah traditions for every night. And I decorate with all sorts of crafty things. I can’t help it! I love how excited my son gets when he sees his Hanukkah decorations.
My favorite part of our decorations this year? We made a lot of them together. It can be tough to find Hanukkah decorations in the store, but instead of getting frustrated we decided to get creative and crafty. What do you think?
Here are the details of our 2011 Hanukkah “mantel” :
Hanukkah Village & Train:
We used the LEGO Medieval Market to make a village of people celebrating Hanukkah. I bought a sheet of gauzy “snow” from the craft store and cut it to fit our counter, then we placed the village on top along with a couple branches of evergreen tree. We added to the scene with tiny pumpkins, trees, snowmen and gifts, also from the craft store. The LEGO set comes with a horse pulling a wagon, so I put Hanukkah gifts in the wagon too.
Finally we put a menorah train going through the village. You can’t see it in the photo, but at the bottom of the train it says “All Aboard the Hanukkah Train!” I found it at Judaism.com, though it looks like they don’t carry it anymore. (They have lots of other transportation-themed menorahs though.)
As for the other side of our Hanukkah mantle, aside from putting out a small bowl of golden gelt and a plate of candles, we also made a “dreidel tree” and a hand print Hanukkah light. We also put a Hanukkah Helper next to the light. Our menorahs are nestled between this set of decorations and the train on the other side of the counter, so once Hanukkah starts and we light the menorahs the entire counter is going to look amazing. (So excited.)
1. Dreidel Tree:
To make this tree I bought a silver “light branch” from the craft store. I’ve seen these everywhere and they come in all sorts of colors. Also from the craft store: two bags of small clear rocks (vase fillers), two small evergreen branches with bells and leaves covered in silver/blue glitter, mini snowmen, small snowflakes, string and blue glitter.
To assemble the dreidel tree I filled a clear vase with the crystalline rocks and placed the branch inside. Then I stuck the branches with bells on either side and hung the snowmen and snowflakes on the branches.
Finally, I got some inexpensive plastic dreidels and carved a small groove into the handles. I tied string around this groove and made a loop at the top. Then I covered the dreidels in clear glue and coated them in blue glitter. (I filled a small bowl with glitter and used a spoon to make sure every part of the dreidels were covered.) I hung the finished dreidels on my cabinet doorknobs to dry, then put them on the dreidel tree an hour or so later.
2. Hand Print Hanukkah Light:
This one was very easy to make. At the craft store I picked up: a glass box and stand (not sure what these are called but I always see them at the craft stores), blue and white gloss enamel paint, blue glitter paint with a nozzle on the bottle, thick sparkly blue ribbon and an electric candlestick light.
After washing and drying the glass box, I painted my hand with blue paint and pressed it onto the surface. I let this dry for a day. Then I painted the munchkin’s hand with white paint and pressed his hand on top of my hand print. This part took a bit of patience because my son thought it was the best idea EVER and wanted to press his hand onto everything but the glass box!
I let his print dry for a couple hours, then I wrote Hanukkah 2011 on the box with the glitter paint nozzle. Lastly, I measured a length of ribbon so that it fit around the edges of the glass box and glued it to the surface using Elmer’s glue. After this had dried I put the glass box onto it’s stand and put the candlestick light inside (there is an opening at the bottom of the box).
That’s it! You could easily make one of these for Christmas too, just switch the colors to green and red.
3. Hanukkah Helper:
The cute little guy you see in our picture is our Hanukkah Helper, who arrived over the weekend and is super excited to help us celebrate Hanukkah this year. You can learn more about him in: Hanukkah Helpers – A Fun Tradition for Kids. :)
In addition to our Hanukkah mantle, we decorated our living room windows with blue and white lights. I also picked up some winter-themed window clings from the craft store, so our windows are covered with snowflakes, a Hanukkah menorah (found a Hanukkah window cling set!) and snowmen.
My hope is that we can build on these decorations every year. Who knows what our home will look like as the munchkin gets older and starts to help with the decorations even more? Things to come.