By Jill Brooke
Hanukkah is the festival of lights, a feat of the Jewish people to prolong one day’s worth of oil to eight, which secured a victory over oppressive Syrian rule and to prevent their faith and temple from being diminished and destroyed.
This year, the Hanukkah festivities starts on December 10th and we wanted to give you some decor ideas to celebrate this annual holiday.
The colors for Hanukkah are often blue and white, the colors of the flag of Israel. Of course, the question then is why blue? It’s the color of a thread the Israelites were told to dye the thread on the knotted fringes of their prayer shawls with this “perfect blue” made with ink for a sea snail. The blue is a little deeper than the classic blue Pantone selected as its color for 2020.
However, there is no religious reason why you have to decorate with blue and white if it doesn’t suit your color palettes.
First decor tip. CANDLES. The more the merrier. Candles immediately warm up any environment. Whether it’s using floral holders or colorful tapered candles, make the effort to get stylish candles as well. Mackenzie-Childs is a great place for festive candles. Etsy also has fab floral candle holders. Perhaps buy a special floral menorah as I did at Target.
Think of candles as enLIGHTenment. Ways to improve our state of mind.
For flower suggestions, we went to Sarah-Eva Marchese, the CEO of Illinois-based Floracracy. Marchese leveraged her training as a terrorist profiler to track facts and trends in the floral industry, which became the basis of Floracracy’s patent-pending software. The online floral delivery company empowers consumers to personalize premium arrangements sparked by symbolism and personal preferences.
Incorporate any of the following ideas and remember that holidays are also an opportunity to share family histories and traditions.
Since Hanukkah is about the effort to maintain purity and pure love of faith and family, find flowers that symbolize this sentiment.
“The tulip is a flower that symbolizes purity and pure love,” says Floracracy’s Marchese. “It also is one of the few flowers that keeps growing after it has been cut, growing sometimes 2 – 4 inches in an arrangement. It is a message that we can keep evolving and can make ourselves better.”
TIP: “Silver brunia berries are an excellent way to add Hanukkah colors into the home. They last a long time, and you can even replace some of the less long-lasting flowers. You want something for at least 8 days. Also, don’t fill up the vase of tulips with too much water.
“Fill the holiday table with flowers, which collectively mean new beginnings and the courage these starts take,” she says. “Hyacinth, for example, means confidence, courage and power. These meanings capture how the Maccabees showed confidence and power to rebel against Antiochus” as well as oppressors.
TIP: Design these small spring flowers in an open arrangement style. Here, you see Floracracy’s Arch shape in our bohemian design look. It has the feeling of flowers growing right out of the ground. You may want to add freesia to the mix too since it symbolizes rebellion and also smells divine.
Sometimes, the message needed by our loved ones is simple: dare to believe. White daffodils mean spirituality and faith. They are an invitation to the Hanukkah message that we need to have belief, as the Maccabees had faith that they could free themselves from oppression. And move on to a better life.
TIP: Use white daffodils to pack more tightly into a small arrangement that sits well on bedside tables or elsewhere in the house. You can also put just a few sprigs of daffodils into bud vases and distribute them throughout your home. The gift of this is that it allows you to see this symbol in unexpected places throughout your day.
Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew and is also called the “festival of lights.” Incorporate astilbe, which means dedication to symbolize the heart of the Hanukkah message.
TIP: Make your arrangement about light in full white or pink astilbe and pair with deeper foliage hues, like eucalyptus which in smell and meaning invite wellness and spirituality into the home. Another option to add is ranunculus which means radiance.
White roses symbolize miracle, which invites your guests into the story of how the oil was supposed to last one night but ended up lasting 8. It creates a palette for belief and a holiday message of hope.
Tip: Loosely run the white roses down the center of the table as a table runner centerpiece, letting the flowers and message become part of the meal. Let your family take some of the roses back to their rooms or homes as a symbol of the miracle and its love.
Remember, while having the smell and shape of the real flowers invites all the seasons into its story, you can add these flowers through images of them as well in plate designs, candle holders or teacups.
Furthermore, all these flowers can be launching pads to share the story of the Hannukah season in your home or with friends you love. Perhaps ask family members what have these meanings meant to you or how you experience the Hannuku season? This can be a way to connect with family from a distance or to help your children understand and appreciate the season.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.