Decorating for Hanukkah can happen any time in November and December based on when the holiday starts. Some families will do it up big, but others keep a more reserved aesthetic.
Hanukkah changes each year because it follows the Jewish calendar. According to that calendar, the holiday is always on the 25th of Kislev, the ninth month. This doesn't line up to the same date in a secular calendar since one calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, while the other is based on the Earth's revolution around the sun.
With that interesting bit of information in your back pocket and a quick check of this year's calendar for exact dates, it's time to start decorating. Here are some can't miss Hanukkah decorations to create the perfect festive atmosphere.
The quintessential accessory to the perfect Hanukkah is always a menorah. With so many varieties out there, it's easy to match your personal style to this Hanukkah decoration's appearance.
You can go traditional, with a lot of ornate flourishes, find something hand-crafted with an artist's touch or even get a kid-friendly piece made out of old, wooden alphabet blocks. Some people like to use a menorah that has been in the family for years, while others are brand new.
There's no wrong choice when it comes to your menorah selection, but what's great about this decoration is that, while you light it each night, there's often a great story to tell about it.
Having one functional menorah, and one that's purely decorative can ramp up your holiday décor. Consider adding an electric menorah for your windowsill. You turn on another light bulb each night, have an interactive decoration and don't have to worry about candle flames.
You may not think of the candles that go into your menorah as Hanukkah decorations, but they most certainly are. With so many colorful options, Hanukkah candles have come a long way from the short, solid color assortment of the past.
Set each night's Hanukkah candles into the menorah that morning and let the entire piece serve as a decorative accent even before the lights begin to shine bright.
Serving a practical purpose, drip trays go under the menorah to catch any wax that may fall. Even with dripless candles, there's always a chance. With limited surface space, a drip tray is a must. The last thing you want to do is to clean eight nights of drippy candle wax off your counter or table.
However, you don't have to pick something boring in order for it to remain functional.
Find the right, festive drip tray and let it sit out all Hanukkah long as a piece of your holiday decor. It may even complete the centerpiece to your table.
When it comes to Hanukkah, you can never have too many dreidels. They're available in all styles and sizes, enabling you to build up quite a collection.
Grab a handful of the practical, plastic ones to use to play the dreidel game, but then let your decorating spirit take over. Look for a few oversized, unique dreidels you can put out around your home. They make for an easy decoration that won't take up a lot of space, even if you grab a few that are extra-large.
Hanukkah gelt is definitely more for eating than for use as decoration, but it can serve double-duty. While it's an expected component of the holiday, setting out a big bowl of those shiny, gold-wrapped chocolate coins works as a pretty decoration.
Keeping gelt handy not only looks festive but gives you a holiday-themed candy dish for guests to snack on and a ready stockpile for when it's time to play dreidel.
For a simple Hanukkah decoration that's easy to put up and take down, go for a Happy Hanukkah banner. All you need are two pieces of tape and any wall or doorframe becomes the perfect spot to share your holiday joy.
You can find banners that reflect any decoration style. What makes them especially perfect for decorating is that they're reusable. Stow the banner away after the eight nights are over, and you're already ready for next year.
When space really feels limited, look to your windows as an added surface to decorate. Gel clings in fun Hanukkah shapes stick to your windows without any mess. They're also easy to remove and, if you're careful, can last a few years.
These colorful Hanukkah decorations are also a great way to get kids involved in setting up for Hanukkah. Since they're so easy to put up, small hands can work on the windows while you handle the more delicate items.
The closer Hanukkah falls to Christmas, the more appealing a little extra light feels. As other apartments hang red and green lights, you, too, can put up some more sparkle.
Strings of all-white lights or white and blue lights give off the spirit of Hanukkah and offer up a decoration you can probably leave up until after the start of the new year.
Although Hanukkah food is a staple of the holiday, you eat it, you don't decorate with it. It's what you put the food on that can make for some fun places to add a little flair. Finding Hanukkah-themed plates, napkins and even placemats turn every night's dinner into a Hanukkah celebration.
Placing your delicious latkes onto a special Hanukkah platter also gives those crispy potato pancakes something extra. There are even Hanukkah dish towels out there. You can cover your kitchen in holiday décor for those eight special nights.
Complete your dining table with a Hanukkah runner across the middle of the table. If you can't find one specific to the holiday, look for something in blue and silver or blue and white. You can even match it to your Hanukkah placemats for a true holiday table.
Go one step further and top your runner with some holiday flowers. While there aren't any specific to Hanukkah, a lovely bouquet of blue and white blooms will look beautiful.
If you like to decorate with candles and the ones on the menorah aren't enough, you've got options. You can find festive tea light holders to spread around your apartment and light each night. These are great because they're reusable décor from year to year. Not only that, but tea lights are an inexpensive way to make a small space feel bright.
There are also Hanukkah-scented candles if you want to keep your apartment full of holiday smells. These fun candles can capture all the cooking scents of your favorite Hanukkah treats. We're talking about latkes and jelly donuts.
The best advice, when it comes to decorating, is don't limit yourself. Hanukkah decorations don't only belong on walls and tables. You can wear them, too. Decorate yourself for a post-dinner PJ party in Hanukkah jammies. You might even find a matching set for your entire family.
There are plenty of Hanukkah socks out there, too, which enable you to take your decorations on the road. With just a little lift of your pant leg, you can show off your holiday spirit.
Hanukkah clothing is not only a great gift idea for the first night, but it's the perfect attire to wear when opening presents.
Preparing for Hanukkah is almost as fun as celebrating the holiday itself, when you have the right decorations. Start early, so you have time to plan and find items that will last all eight days. That way, you're always ready to celebrate, whether on your own, with your family or throwing a little party for friends.