Why One Family Decorates a Hanukkah Tree Every Year

“It’s part of the holiday spirit and we enjoy seeing the beautiful tree in our home each year."

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Traditionally, decorated trees are for Christmas and menorahs are for Hanukkah. But many families celebrating Hanukkah have borrowed the classic Christmas tree and turned it into their own sentimental tradition. Commonly called a 'Hanukkah bush,' these small trees are decorated with lights, blue and silver ornaments, and decor patterned with Hanukkah-related symbols.

We've already seen these start to pop up this year—there are currently more than 5,300 posts under #HanukkahBush and more than 700 #HanukkahTree posts on Instagram—and while the tradition is not for everyone, we love the sentiment behind it.

We talked to Victoria Wildhorn—who puts up a Hanukkah tree—about what the tradition means to her family. As a child, she had a small 3-foot tree she called a Hanukkah bush. A few years ago, she was walking through Target and spotted their selection of pre-lit trees, and decided to bring one home and revive the tradition.

Hanukkah tree
Courtesy of Victoria Wildhorn

She decorates the tree with Hanukkah-theme ornaments and accessories with blue and white stockings and wrapped gifts, and says the tree adds something special to their holiday. "We get to partake in the fun of putting up a tree like our Christian friends do, but with our own twist,' she says. "It's part of the holiday spirit and we enjoy seeing the beautiful tree in our home each year in addition to the other household decorations."

Wildhorn, whose family only celebrates Hanukkah, says she doesn't mind incorporating an element of Christmas, because her family has turned it into their own special Hanukkah tradition. "We don't mind the resemblance to the Christmas holiday as we are not Orthodox Jews and have many friends who celebrate both holidays," she says.

And while her tree is gorgeous, for Wildhorn, the tradition goes beyond pretty holiday decor. Putting up the tree is a way for her family to gather together and have some intentional time reflecting on the season as they put each ornament and decoration on the tree.

victoria wildhorn

"My grandmother loves seeing the Hanukkah tree go up each year, because not only is it beautiful, but it's special to just us."

— victoria wildhorn

"My mother and I loved the idea from the get-go, but my grandmother was a bit hesitant at first due to the traditionality of a tree representing Christmas and us being solely Jewish, Wildhorn says. "However, once we fully decorated it the first year, all of her reservations were immediately thrown out the window and now she loves seeing the Hanukkah tree go up each year, because not only is it beautiful, but it's special to just us."

If you plan to decorate a Hanukkah tree this year, here are a few of our favorite photos for inspiration.

Flocked Hanukkah Tree

Thispretty flocked tree ($100, Target) is packed with white lights and oversize ornaments, including blue and silver balls and large dreidels. Decorate your tree on night one of Hanukkah, or put it up early and leave it up all season long.

Blue and White Tree

We're loving the monochromatic ornaments on this short, round tree. Decorated with a felt wool ball garland, dreidels, and star ornaments, the tree is topped with a blue Star of David and small 'Happy Hanukkah' sign.

Menorah-Topped Tree

There's no mistaking this tree of any other holiday! Along with traditional Hanukkah symbols and dreidel ornaments, this tree is topped with an oversize menorah cutout that states 'Happy Hanukkah.'

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