Irwin Weiner ASID - Having grown up in South Africa, our Jewish celebrations were slightly different than they are here in the United States. We never emphasized Hanukkah, which has become a bit of the Jewish answer to December's Christmas celebration for Christians. But here's my bottom line: holidays are a great reason to gather family and friends together to celebrate, entertain, talk and share, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
And nothing is more memorable than holiday table decor; the right table settings make everyone sit up and take notice. You know when you're at a special meal; the details are all "just so." The first of three Hanukkah table settings I admired (see top two photos) is from Pottery Barn. Their Tree of Life Menorah salad plates play off strong white china for a simple, elegant place setting. I also like the height of the two table bouquets; keep centerpieces either super short or nice and tall to avoid blocking views of the diners sitting across the table from you - there's nothing more annoying than to have to talk over the top of a "jungle."
Above: Williams-Sonoma's Ornamental Jacquard Table Runner makes a soft, yet striking fabric highlight to a Hanukkah table, particularly allowing the lovely wood of this table to show through. If your table is durable and lovely, there's no need to hide it under tablecloths or placemats - but a lovely runner will add a tactile layer to the table that's lovely.
Above: I liked Martha Stewart's crafty take on holiday tables, showing off her silvery DIY Manzanita-Branch Menorah, set off by shimmering blue fabric and three different takes on dinnerware: patterned silver, light blue on light blue, and white with a banded metallic and leaf design.