Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Chanukah! I can't believe I made a wreath!

My mother has dementia, and lives in an assisted living facility. At this time of year, most of the residents have gorgeous Christmas wreaths on their doors. For three years, Mom's door has been bare. Talk about Jewish guilt.

Although confused about most things, my mother - who is a Holocaust survivor - still knows she's Jewish, and inquires constantly whether my family and I are also Jewish. I reassure her, again and again. So this year, I decided to do something I've never done before - make a Chanukah wreath.
Oh,what fun it was! The artificial greenery base was from Michaels, on sale for $6! I added ribbons, blue sequins, a plastic dreidel (middle right) and a real brass menorah complete with residue of colored candle wax left over from previous years. A hot glue gun and green floral wire figured prominently in the process.

Next, I wondered how one hangs it. I remembered a newsletter from Mom's place that said something about wreath hangers, but I didn't know what they looked like or where to get them. I called, and a staffer told me that they provide them.

When I arrived bearing the wreath, it was admired by the staff, who told me I should go into business, Then they handed me a bent piece of red metal,  adorned with a sparkly Christmas tree.

We put it on Mom's door, and I wheeled her over to look at it.
I pointed out the menorah, and the dreidel, and then a helpful staffer standing nearby pointed out the Christmas tree! Mom smiled happily at it all! I declare that a happy ending.
My Mom. Can you believe she's 88? 
Happy holidays to you and all your loved ones!


  1. First of all, your Mother is beautiful with such flawless skin. We celebrated both holidays when the kids were little because of their Dad. Now that they are older, there is no sign of Christmas in my house.

    1. Living on the East Coast, and hiding inside her house for 30 years, has definitely given her the most gorgeous skin, Cheryl, thanks! We never had anything Christmasy for the kids. But Mom needs her neurons stimulated, and I was hoping the Chanukah paraphernalia would help!

  2. Cathy, your mother is gorgeous and no, I can't believe her age. I love the Chanukah wreath!

    1. Thanks, Rayna, I know. She's the hottest gal in her assisted living home!

  3. Happy Chanukah Cathy. Your Mom looks wonderful. Must be that Eastern air. LOL My Mom lived to 96 and had beautiful skin too, living in NY and not being that close to the ocean helped.
    We celebrate both since my husband is not Jewish. But it's the tiniest tree ever. our Menorah is right next to it.

  4. A beautiful story, and she is lovely!
    Living in a country overtaken by Christmas spirit that begins in September , it is a challenge. Yasher Koach. My husbands mom is 91 and also has dimentia. Life is a challenge. Chag sameach!

  5. Hi, Joan, wonderful to hear from you! Yes, living in a cold climate kept mom inside a lot, which has its payoff! Having lived in CA for twenty years, I unfortunately am not getting the same reward!
    We all have to make holiday compromises when we're in a minority culture. I'm so much less uptight about my mom's holiday celebration than I was about my kids!
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  6. Cathy,
    Your mother is beautiful! And so is her daughter! You're very thoughtful and very creative. Well done!!

  7. Hi Cathy,
    I. Ant figure out why the first comment did not show up?
    I loved your mom's picture. She is lovely, with such a beautiful and contented look. My husband's mom is also in a home, suffering from dementia. I think patience and finding ways to bring them happiness, is most important. Your solution was wonderful. The tiny tree on top is so typical of how it goes, living in a non- Jewish world. It is tricky. Perhaps, decorate the tiny tree I blue, or cover it.

  8. Love it. You Mom looks so wonderfully sweet and gorgeous. Living in small-town New England, there are loads of Chanukkah flags flying, electric menorahs in windows, and hand crafted wreaths on doors and other decorations. Jews have always taken on some of the local customs and made them our own. We are definitely doing that with Christmas/Chanukkah. Just think of how gift giving has changed in one generation.


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