Thursday, December 17, 2009

Proud as a Peacock

I have not turned out to be a very good blogger at all. Just to recap: the vegetable garden was a huge success for our entire family. We had something fresh from the garden everyday well into October. We had all had a tremendous sense of accomplishment, my oldest daughter learned that she loved cucumbers, and we will do it again (even bigger) next year. The Pinkalicous Party was great (will post on that eventually) and I spent most of the next months executing our preschool's big fundraiser. It was a huge task but, even in this economy, we raised a lot of money. With the craziness of the fundraiser and getting us settled into our schedule of school, work, dance lessons, and swim lessons, I hardly know where the Fall went. It felt like this: we picked our pumpkins, carved them, let them rot (not entirely to oblivion this year), and cleaned them up---Fall was Finished. That is obviously the short version, but it really felt that fast!

So, now December was upon us and we were faced with a new issue. We are a Jewish Family--not so religious but religious enough that we don't put up a tree (some Jews do, not that there is anything wrong with that). My daughters have become increasingly aware of Christmas and are fascinated with beauty of it all. To be honest, so am I. My husband and I were even engaged at a display of "winter" lights. We love the smell of pine trees, drinking eggnog and of course the parties, but we are old enough to know that is not a part of our personal religious practice. It is a little harder when you are two or four.

That's why I make a big point of Hanukkah being a big deal in our home. Hanukkah is actually a relatively minor holiday that happens to involve gift-exchange and fall near Christmas, so its status sort of got "elevated" in recent history. I am sure you can find lots of articles about that on the web.... but more about me! HA! I usually go all out and decorate for the kids, but I had a serious problem this year. Hanukkah decorations are ugly. Really ugly! Aside from menorahs, the candelabras central to the celebration, most Hanukkah stuff is terribly juvenile looking and usually made of Mylar or plastic ( a few Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn things excepted). I normally don't mind this and the kids love it in all its mismatched, rainbow-hued glory. But my annual (inter-faith) adult dinner party was scheduled on the second night of Hanukkah and the plastic dreidel decor was not going to work. I thought about putting out cylinders filled with silver and blue ornaments, but decided that if I did that, I might as well be a Jew with a tree (not that there's anything wrong with that). Anyway, we came up with this theme: "Proud as a Peacock to Celebrate Hanukkah." I think the look is almost as lux as the average Christmas stuff and didn't use any specifically Christmas items. It was based on the blue, silver, and gold found in our menorahs. Not only am I proud as a peacock to celebrate Hanukkah, I am pretty proud of myself too. Let me know what you think!
A few of our Menorahs on display along with some beautiful handmade candles. My oldest daughter placed the rest in the windows, where the technically are supposed to go, but I loved when they were all grouped on the table together (not pictured).
Notice anything familiar? This was the Very Hungry Caterpillar tree from Annabelle's birthday! I never use the same stuff twice, but this was a different crowd. I re-used rather than having to find, bundle, and re-paint more sticks.

Our huge menorah. This was once a store display in a Chico's when I was in college. (Note: I was not actually shopping in Chico's as a college student, but passing by) I saw it, and asked if I could have it when they were finished. Someone had beaten me to the punch--I asked for the next two years. On the third year, they gave it to me! It has its own rainbow colored candles and I have filled it with those or cupcakes over the years. The cupcake menorah was awesome, but I can't find any pictures of it. This year we used royal blue and emerald green glass votives with gold details from Target to match our Proud as a Peacock Theme. It is placed on some old silk scarves that I picked up in Thailand when I was in graduate school--they just happen to be the right colors. I also ended up scattering gelt (gold-covered chocolate coins) around the table to break up the green and blue and added one purple peacock as a nod to my girls' favorite color and one purple plastic driedel to the table (it is Hanukkah after all)! below you will see it lit for the seventh night of Hanukkah.

The most perfect wall decals from HomeGoods!

Here are some details from the dinner party: Signs we used and adorable cocktail napkins!

Since I went this far, I figured that we better rent some plates that matched (from Head of The Table--check out her fabulous rentals that beat the pants off your plain old while rentals:

The plates were too fabulous for paper, so I had to roll up my silverware in gold napkins and tie them with blue, green, and blue-and-green-polka-dotted ribbons!

It was all so pretty and didn't compromise our family's identity in anyway. Now, if I could just get it to smell like a pine tree!!!!