Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chanukah Party

Hello Viewers!

… and here we go - it is party time again! But this time it is no ordinary festivity – it is a holy celebration: Chanukah, the holiday of miracles, gratitude, hope and lights.

Now, I ask you, who in the world came up with the notion that the “Chanukah colors” are blue and white, with some silver thrown in by the bold for a bit of glamour? Blue and white are the colors of the Israeli flag – and there it ends. There is no such thing (and there never has been such a thing) as Chanukah colors – not even in our over-commercialized universe. And if there were, why would they be blue and white? So un-party-like.

Therefore, I am setting up for the family dinner this year in shocking pink and gold – gold being a much more Chanukah-compatible metallic accent color than silver, since it recalls the gold of the Menorah itself, as well as many of the other Temple accoutrements; the Chanukah “gelt” (money, but literally meaning gold) that is traditionally given out during the holiday; and maybe even the golden sheen of the olive oil that we burn. Shocking pink is an obvious choice that needs no further explanation!

So, let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)...

The tablecloth is one that I dyed with Rit in the washing machine – rather nifty, I think. On top of that, a slightly tacky gold runner - but used the right way, some tacky things can actually look fantastic. A tall, hot pink Indian candle lantern takes center place.

Next, I added roses in small, hot pink bud vases. You will not be surprised to hear I found them at IKEA.

The roses were enhanced with floral glitter spray - it comes in gold and silver and is safe to use on live flowers. On the whole, I find that glitter - whether sprayed or sprinkled - is a great enhancer of life in general! I often scatter some on the staircase when I am expecting guests.

(Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to get the right color tones in my photos - with flash or without, there are shifts in color that are inaccurate. Some of these photos look rather more reddish than they should; some a little too garish. The first picture is probably the one closest to reality.)

This year, there was an unprecedented convergence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving, and I allowed myself to allude to this fact with some gold-sprayed mini pumpkins – some of you may recognize them from an earlier event, when they were bright white; they had kept fresh all these weeks so this was a great opportunity for recycling.

Finally, I added some votive candles, pink, semi-transparent glass pebbles (from a florist supplies store), and some real pebbles that have been spray painted in gold.

Then for the place settings. Gold chargers were a given, and after a little experimenting I settled for my scalloped, violently floral dinner plates of English design, and rosy appetizer plates with a raspberry pink rim. The napkins were dyed together with the tablecloth, and the napkin rings were a discount store find; they are cheap plastic - another example of tacky things that can look wonderful in the right context.
Table setting for the grandchildren...

...and an overview of the table. Below, the full effect at night, with all the candles lit.

It has been my tradition every Chanukah for at least twenty-five years to fill a decorated basket with clementines, chocolate gold coins, prettily wrapped candies, and small gifts for everyone at the table (in addition to the “real” gifts for the offspring). 

By necessity, these party favors are quite inexpensive, but I try to find a theme each year that can be personalized for all the recipients.

Obviously, it has to be something that works both for men and women, and for most ages. 

Last year it was socks, carefully selected according to personalities - from distinguished argyle to fuzzy with purple pompoms. Once it was various bookmarks – romantic, intellectual, playful, businesslike. This year it was note pads - pretty, jokey, floral, and - yes, covered in pink fluff. 

And finally, a glimpse of Chanukah atmosphere...

Regards from Rosebud!