Welcome to Day 4 of Blackbird Design Studio's 12 Days of Christmas Décor! Today's topic is an important one, but it's not about Christmas; it's about recognizing the rich cultural tapestry of America and of the world.
Day 4: There's More to December than Christmas
As the popular acapella group Straight No Chaser noted in their popular song, "The Christmas Can-Can", Christmas "ain't the only holiday" in December. Nearly 15 million people worldwide celebrate Hanukkah, the annual 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights. Each year beginning on December 26, many African-Americans observe the seven days of Kwanzaa. Saint Nicholas' Day, St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day, the Winter Solstice...all are celebrated throughout December. Some families of blended heritage also celebrate more than one December holiday. Some prefer not to observe any religious or secular holidays. With all of these scenarios, is it possible to deck the halls without invoking Christmas?
Happily, the answer is a huge YES! Traditional Hanukkah decorations include dreidels, gelt, and the menorah (pictured above), which is lit each night of the holiday to represent the lantern that burned in the Temple for eight nights. Menorahs run the gamut from rustic and unadorned to the world's most expensive menorah, an 18th century Ukranian candelabra which was sold in 2014 for about $100,000. Inspired by the flag of Israel, blue and silver are the colors typically featured in decorative banners and other Hanukkah ornamentation. Meanwhile, Kwanzaa uses red, green and black as its color scheme and incorporates symbols of African heritage including the kinara, or candle holder, as well as the Kikombe cha Umoja (Unity Cup). Fruits, corn, and other decorations that represent the harvest are also featured.
For those whose beliefs or traditions don't include a December celebration, it's easy to create a wintry vibe with ideas from nature. In fact, that's the subject of Day 5! Stay tuned!