Announcing a contest!

red rabbi and his lulav

My dear friend Danielle had a great idea for a blog post. As it happens, I’m not nearly creative enough to pull it off myself. The idea came from a conversation we were having this morning on the phone, in which she asked me if I had a Christmas tree cookie-cutter. I joked that I didn’t, but I had a Tu B’shevat cookie cutter that I thought would do the trick.
Her suggestion: write a blog post about how to use clearance Christmas merchandise to celebrate Jewish holidays. It reminded me of a story I once read (can’t remember the source) about an insulated community in Israel where the children decorated their sukkahs with santa claus ornaments. When asked who the bearded fellow was, they excaimed delightedly “It’s the red rabbi!”
Prize for the most creative answer – a set of 10 beautiful alef-bet postcards designed by my first grade students:
Entries due by Jan 1 – good luck!


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the Rebbetzin

posted December 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

The secular new year right after our summer in this house, we bought a ton of “icicle” xmas lights (white) on clearance with the express purpose of using them in our sukkah. when I lived in Israel, you could buy tons of tinsel, which a lot of Israelis used in their sukkahs. i was never able to bring myself to do that :-) we also buy up the leftover “stocking stuffer” items on clearance after xmas to use in our mishloach manot packages on purim (ditto on Halloween/Valentine candy – you should see my linen closet by the end of Feb – it’s scary).

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posted December 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

We here at EdibleTorah HQ are VERY excited about this contest. Here are the ways we’ve used some of the Christmas sale items:
1) pinecones as a different smell in our Havdallah spice box
2) white tapers to decorate tables for various simchas (weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, etc)
3) ditto the white table cloths
4) wreaths, lights, etc to decorate our sukkah
5) cunningly re-painted Santa figurines as Moses for Pesach table decorations
6) reindeer figurines as part of the “wild beasts” during Pesach
7) Christmas light bulbs that fit our electric chanukiah
8) upside-down Christmas tree cookie cutters as makeshift dreidle forms.

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posted December 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Okay, I’m not actually doing the contest but I wanted to add something about my kids and the Christmas stuff.
My son, who was into Lion King when he was 3, totally thought that the reindeers our neighbors put up were wildebeests (I wrote a story for Phoenix Jewish News about this: Santa Claus was determined by my daughter to be a Russian Rabbi due to his long beard and tunic. It was a great way to let them see the world through Jewish eyes for a while longer and, even though now they’re 10 and 14, whenever they see a Santa they say, “Look Mom, the Russian Rabbi!”

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posted December 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm

wow, I think Edible Torah should win!!!!
I LOVE this post….I’m sticking around to read everyone’s answers :-)
I’m all over using the Tree cutters at Tu B’Shevat (in fact, I’m going to run out Sunday – why oh why is the day after xmas Shabbat this year!? Ruins the sales…)
I usually try to get strings of wooden cranberries, other “xmas fruit” (!?) to use in my sukkah. I always snag some pretty lights for the sukkah too.
I buy the green and red sprinkles to use at different times during the year (green for tu b’shevat cookies, red for hamantashen decorations)…
Unfortunately, the stuff goes so fast around here, they’re practically cleaning it up and putting out the Valentine’s Day stuff on December 26th!

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posted December 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Red and green m&m’s are perfect for Tu B’Shevat. I have some beautiful glass fruit ornaments purchased on clearance at Pier One or World Market or some place like that. I’m planning to look for more this coming week.

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posted December 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Well, obviously we get any needed mini-lights for our Sukkah, but I also love all the fancy hanging candle holders, etc., that you’ll find in a Cost-Plus World Market type store on sale right now. I got my favorite Sukkah decoration – a white chandelier – at one of these sales.
I went nuts one year when I found some beautiful dishes on after-xmas sale, so that we’d have enough separate Pesach dishes to host for the whole family (25+ guests).
We also like to get the afikomen prizes when all the toys are on sale now.
My big steal is to find Purim costumes after Halloween, though, and re-purpose on-sale Easter baskets for mishloach manot.

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posted January 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

I may be too late, but I had to throw in my find from yesterday. I snagged a red felt tree skirt on 75% off clearance. I figured the kids could use it for dress up. Then, my son tried it on as a cape and I realized it will work perfectly for his Purim costume. I’ll use that as wings, pair it with the red knit hat I got for a quarter in with the Xmas clearance a red shirt and his red pants and he’ll be a bird.
Also, a pack of those photo holder cards works well for sending cards to those family members who may be ill, but are too far away to visit. I have a bunch of 4×6 prints of the family and I can slip them in there and send them with a nice note. I admit, though, that this year, for some reason, it was more difficult than usual to find some that weren’t Xmas-specific.

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