A fresh take on the Festival of Lights

A beautiful Hanukkah table is just the beginning of an eight-night celebration filled with food, family, friends and festive activity centering on religious freedom and remembrance. Why not mark the occasion in a unique way that preserves tradition, imparts sustainability and presents a few new takes on the holiday.

Let’s start with the decor.

  • Keep the table simple but chic. After all, the menorah is center stage. A beautiful table runner, decorative plates atop silver chargers, and gold or silver flatware evoke a certain elegance. It may sound a bit decadent but these are the foundation building basics that can be handed down to each generation. Making use of cloth napkins, stoneware, and glassware instead of paper or plastic, is a definite recycling do.
  • Crafty money savers. There are so many ideas for homemade Hanukkah decorations. One idea is to make hand painted dreidels. Another, is to create felt gift and gelt holders by gathering scraps you may already have. Don’t forget to let the kiddos in on the fun. Use hot glue or hand stitch material together to make small pockets, hanging them from a handmade construction paper banner or painted tree branches. You’ll have a visually appealing display that takes no time and serves two purposes.

For the menu, try incorporating a healthier twist to the traditional standbys. Sure, you can put the calorie counter away for the holidays (after all, all things fried is the point) but that doesn’t mean forgoing some earth (and waist)-friendly options. There is always a hack for that. Think smaller portions and wholesome (even vegan) ingredients or replacements.

  • A whole lotta latkes. As an alternative to a sit-down dinner when serving a lot of guests, opt for a latke-themed buffet station that offers several variations of the potato pancake. Martha Stewart has a gluten-free version and Williams-Sonoma makes them mini, but this recipe for vegan latkes, which can be turned into sliders, is drool-worthy.
  • Savory sweets. While many people also use sweet potatoes for on latkes, how about for dessert? This homemade, all-organic sweet potato pie is always a scene-stealing favorite. To keep it dairy-free, use egg and butter replacements along with a dollop of coconut whipped topping. It’s just the right amount of sweet!
  • Make reservations. Once all the cutting, chopping, simmering and frying is done, oy vey, leave the sufganiyot to the pros. Grab a dozen or so from your favorite Jewish bakery, for guests to enjoy.

These are just a few fresh new takes for your festival celebration. Cheers to a happier and kinda healthy Hanukkah.

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