A Tree for Christmas….and Hanukkah

Sarah Ritchie Celebrations, Families and Kids Leave a Comment

As a Celebrant, I am happy to honor all of the traditions that surround me, including Christmas and Hanukkah. My Hungarian boyfriend embraces the European custom of buying and decorating a big tree on Christmas Eve. While this is a charming idea, it leaves me tree-starved for most of December. I have come upon a custom which satisfies my desire to have a tree up in December, while acknowledging his two Jewish Children: the “Hanukkah tree.”

Weeks before the purchase of a large Christmas for the house, I wander among the neighborhood street vendors to select the perfect little tree, which will be decorated in blue, white, and silver, the colors associated with the Jewish winter holiday. To complement the diminutive tree, I use old vintage jewelry bobbles (earrings, pins, chains, and charms) as decorations. I’ve also added tiny silver bells collected for my wedding elopement ceremonies….and an Eiffel Tower ornament as the crowning jewel on top. As a way to make the tree more sentimental and personal, I add small picture frames featuring old photos of my partner, his son and daughter, and a few of myself. Since I’m an amateur archivist, I rotate the photos from year to year. I think the little tree is a nice way to recognize both holidays, paying tribute to the young people who will share in our celebration!

p.s.   On walk home this morning I passed the lovely Shaaray Tefila Synagogue on the Upper East Side, They have signage with information about the week’s activities, along with thought-provoking quotations. I liked this one for the Hanukkah holiday, “One for each night they shed a sweet light to remind us of days long ago,” from an old folk song.

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