What has nine holes, big teeth and looks like it’s about to gobble up all the Hanukkah candles?
If you said the Menorasaurus Rex, you’re correct. For Danielle Price and her husband, Michael, their beloved homemade dinosaur-themed Hanukkah menorah (hanukkiyah) is just one more way they make the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights fun for their two sons, Binyamin and Dov.
The preparations kick off about a month earlier at their home, when the family (and three dogs) gather to take Hanukkah card photos. When they relocated from Kansas to the Emerald City, the theme, naturally, was The Wizard of Oz. Everyone dressed up, including Danielle as Dorothy and her husband as a flying monkey.Danielle’s past crafty themes have included “Llamakkah” and “Thanksgivukkah,” when the two holidays shared dates on the calendar.
Danielle remembers missing the kids’ table after she had her bat mitzvah and moved to the “way more serious” adult Passover table. Now she keeps Passover playful with an improvised Star Wars theme, including a comprehensive “Darth Seder” guide for the ceremonial dinner: “I try to bring in a little bit of fun to really keep the kids engaged with the holidays.”
According to Dov, the best part of Hanukkah is “spinning the dreidel — and getting all the gelt!” Gelt is the foil-wrapped chocolate reward for winning the ancient spinning-top game.
Binyamin agrees, but he’s also really looking forward to the latkes, traditional potato pancakes fried in oil.
Danielle recognizes that Hanukkah is a very minor holiday in the Jewish tradition, but doesn’t mind adding fanfare, like the shiny dinosaur Hanukkah menorah, if it helps her kids join in on the seasonal fun.
“I know that when I was growing up, Christmas was everywhere and I didn’t always feel like I could participate,” she says. “Hanukkah is a really great way for us to be part of the holiday spirit around us.”
In 2022, Hanukkah begam at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 18.
This story was originally published in December 2018.
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