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Saving Space This Holiday

When I was eight, I entered a Menorah making contest. I spent hours in

the basement, supplies spread out on the opened Ping-Pong table, using pencils in place of candles with wild tufts of carpet remnants for the flames, and then decorated different faces on each. I didn’t win the contest, but I saved that menorah for years, eventually tossing it when I was in college, thinking it was time to let go of such childhood memories.

I hadn’t thought of that menorah until this past week when my sister sent me a picture of a menorah my niece Paige created out of clay, and then my friend Candice emailed

me a picture of one she painted. These images happened to be in my head when I bumped into my neighbor Jennifer.

candance menorah

“Are you lighting the menorah tonight with your daughter?” I asked. “No. I’m wary of candles with a two-year-old.” “What about if you draw a menorah and then each night add a ‘flame’ by coloring it with a yellow crayon,” I said. “I love it,” she said.

Now my juices were flowing.

That evening, on the first night of Hanukah, I realized I didn’t have a menorah. Of course the ritual is geared more to children, along with the presents, but as I ripped off the last paper towel, I had an idea. I took out a pair of scissors and cut the empty paper towel roll into eight little rings and put the remaining part, the tallest part, the shamash, in the center of a tray and lined the others around it. Then I took a piece of orange tissue paper, ripped off a little section and stuffed it into one of the towel rings.

And voila, I had a menorah.

Sure the Maccabees may not have appreciated the tissue paper (as the whole point of Hanukah was the oil lasting for eight days), but I certainly did. Each night I may not be “lighting” candles, but I am certainly delighted by my own handy work. The best part is that when the holiday is over, I won’t have to pack it up in a box marked “Hanukah” or “Holidays” and store it someplace. I will just toss it, knowing next year I will make a different one, as well as the year after that. Not only is my new ritual fun, but it’s a space saver too.

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