Hanukkah can be fraught.
Ungrateful children dissatisfied with their presents. The Little Drummer Boy blaring at you in Rite-Aid. Grim office parties. Hearing yourself nag like a demented harpy about pre-dinner gelt-gorging. And when you fry up one batch of latkes, your hair smells like a McDonald’s for a week and every surface in your kitchen becomes as slick as Scott Disick’s hair and how the hell did that potato peel get on the ceiling?
But there’s a solution! To quote some perpetually perky non-Jews, “Turn it off, like a light switch. Just go click.” Here are three suggestions for Hanukkah self-care, to help you do just that.
Give yourself a Hanicure
You could buy Hanukkah-themed nail wraps from Jamberry (blue and silver stars of David! wrapping-paper-print menorahs and dreidels!), or nail decals (a hamsa! a latke!) from Midrash Manicures (look in Judaica stores or on Amazon Prime to get ‘em before the end of the holiday). But I like to go freeform: I just paint deep blue polish on all but my ring fingers, which I do sparkly silver. In the past, I’ve had manicurist paint a gimmel on my middle finger, because I’m classy that way. (These are also classy.)
It’s decorative dreidel legging season, motherfuckers pic.twitter.com/ANfZCFjuUE
— Marjorie Ingall (@MarjorieIngall) December 8, 2015
Chanukah nails💙 #menorah #dreidel #gelt #chanukah #Hanukah #hanukkahnails @mimisnailart A photo posted by Kasi Shawn Sharp (@fancykasisharp) on Dec 8, 2014 at 1:22pm PST
Hide from your family and read a Hanukah-themed romance
I loved Sarah Wendell’s eBook Lighting the Flames, a novella set during a Hanukkah fundraising session of a Jewish summer camp, where two former camp staffers rekindle that old spark (pun intended); it’s a sweet getaway that costs less than a Gingerbread Latte. You might also check out Burning Bright, a four-novella collection (one story is about a fling between an American tourist and a hot Israeli soldier—been there, done that, got the Tzahal t-shirt), or Holiday Outing, about a gay Jewish romance novelist who comes home for the holidays and gets together with his high school nemesis, now the hot Jewish doctor next door. I haven’t read Burning Bright or Holiday Outing, but c’mon, you just need a quick literary escape from your sugared-up dreidel-hurling spawn, not Pride and Prejudice.
Calgon, take me away
Adapt the best aspects of majority culture, as Jews have done for millennia. You know what’s good, Miley? Eggnog. Sip one, preferably with rum or bourbon in it, in a steamy bathtub, with the door locked against the chaotic world outside. Throw in a Yog Nog Bath Bomb from LUSH. It fizzes delightfully, plus it’s got clove oil, organic shea butter, skin-softening soy milk, and the teensiest bit of shimmer. Imagine yourself bathing in fragrant, fragrant nog.
Or get the best thing about Christmas trees—the delicious piney smell, without the pesky needles, the cat-murdering tinsel, the goyishness—by throwing some Kneipp Spruce and Pine bath oil into the tub.
I’m here for you, babe. You are a fine-looking Jew. You can do this. Chag sameach.
Marjorie Ingall is the author of Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children.