Growing up in the 1970’s, we did not decorate our apartment for any holiday, unless you count the four cardboard Halloween cutouts that my mom taped to our front door every October. This kind of thing was not done.
When Hanukkah arrived, the only decoration that was set out was a shiny blue foil “Happy Chanukah” banner that my mom taped across our living room wall. That was about all any Jewish family could find for the Festival of Lights, as it was not as commercialized as it is today.
Even my non-Jewish neighbors in the concrete jungle where I resided only had decorations for Christmas and not any other holiday. Top to bottom foil door hangings that featured Santa Claus or a Christmas tree and a string of multi-colored lights around the window were the only way you could tell that it was Christmas.
If you owned your own home, decorating your yard for the holiday season used to mean simple decorations. Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, a nativity scene and strings of colorful lights were what those who lived in houses in our area had. Fast forward to the present, and it seems that everyone tries to outdo the others with a “more the merrier” kinds of decorations. Whether you like more decor or less, it is always a fun to see houses so brightly decorated for the holiday season.
Jewish families can now join in the decorating fun with a vast array of Hanukkah inflatables, lights and other decor.
The Hanukkah Story
In ancient times, the Syrian-Greeks came to Israel and tried to force the Jewish people to stop praying to their G-d and to worship idols like they did. They took over the Temple and permitted animals to roam freely in it, desecrating a most Jewish holy place. For three years, Judah and his band of Maccabees fought the Syrian-Greeks until they finally fled Israel.
The Temple needed to be cleaned and restored to it’s proper form. The ner tamid, or eternal light, need a special pure olive oil in it before it could be lit. However, there was only enough of this oil in the lamp to last for one day. But miracle of miracles, it lasted for eight days while the new pure oil was being made. That is why lights play an important role in the Hanukkah story.
Hanukkah is the festival of the rededication of the Temple.
No longer just for Christmas and Easter, there are plenty of whimsical Hanukkah lawn inflatables for Jewish families to display in their yard. Jewish kids can now participate in the decorating fun of the winter holiday season!
Available at Jet.com
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This inflatable dreidel is 4′ x 8′. It has glowing lights. Place it on your lawn and have it glow in the night!
This set of Hanukkah bears are prelit and measure 60 inches. What a fun and playful way to decorate your lawn!
Electric Hanukkah Menorahs
Growing up, the only Hanukkah decoration my family had was the electric Hanukkah menorah. Jews light one new candle each night and then put it on the window sill to show passersby what night it is. When my husband and I got married in 1987, I bought my own electric chanukiyah and began a collection of Hanukkah decorations for our children to enjoy.
My most prized decoration is the electric Hanukkah menorah that belonged to my Nana. She gave it to me because she knows how I love to carry on the Jewish traditions that I was brought up with. It stands proudly in my window each holiday season. Anyone who walks by my home can see it from the outdoors.
Hanukkah Lights for Your Home
When I was a little girl growing up in Queens, New York, every holiday season I loved to look at the apartment windows with their rectangular square of multi-colored Christmas lights. During the holiday season, my father would load us into the car and drive us around the neighborhoods that consisted of homes so we could see their beautiful displays of holiday lights. Even though Christmas was not our holiday, I grew up appreciating the traditions of others.
As an adult, I walk or drive around my neighborhood during the month of December, and get such joy from seeing all of the beautiful displays of Christmas lights. While we do not light up the outside of our home, we do decorate our indoor windows with all kinds of Hanukkah lights-the kind that were not available when I was growing up. After all, Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights!
For Jewish families who want to light up the night, this Gemmy Lightshow Hanukkah Whirl-A-Motion LED Projection Lights is simple and easy to use. Just place the spotlight on the lawn and light it up! This can also be used indoors as well as outdoors. Perfect for a Youth Group event or a family Hanukkah party.
Featured image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Canva